Brier Patch

Press your ear close.

Sometimes you can hear the breath
rattling in my chest like a bone shrugged
its moorings and ought to be tied back down.

It’s the sound of a canyon
trying to expel a marsh:
hear the stones tumble down,
clatter and splash,
the stiff reeds scouring the walls.
Stuck bristles. Sticks.
The marsh is dauntless.
It can’t be pushed out through
the canyon’s narrow mouth.

It’s the sound of a cave-in.
Press your ear close and
listen to picks and shovels
plinking on the rock.
Soon the oxygen gives out
and all the miners go to sleep,
or they punch a hole through
to the sky and breathe,
mouths pressed to the breach,
gasping a little at a time.

It’s the sound of a brier patch
growing in your lungs.
It’s the sound of a brier patch
set on fire.

This poem © Gabriel Gadfly. Published July 6th, 2011.