The Cross

“Options” — Sabrina Farley

Sometimes the cross itches
and the wood creaks and moans on my back,
and I lack
the fortitude of age to ask for repose,
for the civil amenity
of a flowery grave.

I rest upon my neighbor’s back
that becomes a bed where my mold
grows into his, and we, conjoined twins,
alternate between the earth
and the unbounding sky.

Insects fester and nest below us,
scurrying, supplanting, moving a thing from here
to there and really going nowhere.
Looking up at a blue that veils an open black
so gargantuan, again I feel this lack,
or is it the full stomach of an ant?

My neighbor’s back is my home;
this cross, the foot path to the woods
or the skull-hill. Wood can bend.
So too can my neighbor’s back, but
one does so out of choice,
of a love that grows in
a dark, insufficient place.

So it is by mold that we must live!
Feeding ourselves with the dead,
creating spores to sprout in the luminous night
upon the back of a stranger
who doesn’t know his plight.
Mold cannot be stopped:
communal, moist,
in a dark and brooding place,
we rise up the trunk of a tree
destined to be a log,
then a plank, then
paired with another
into a creaking, itching amenity.

Up the tree trunk, moldy and white, spying over forests, we see
a cross
as it truly is:
perpendicular. Identical
twins once
apart are no more
than singular entities meant for
building houses, bridging waters,
and breeding termites.