In the Weeds


by Claire Taylor


 

A weed grows through the center of my Knock Out roses
splitting the bush in half blooms
turn away from each other
like quarreling lovers. I recall
a tangle of green
in the river behind my childhood home
a water moccasin slithering out from
between the weeds to catch the lazy current, serpentine twig
disappearing into the distance, a dam a mile downstream
where legend had it a boy
fell to his death, drowned in the churning water
he and a friend
playing, goofing off, roughhousing, making mischief, up to no good
depending on who you asked
a reprimand before you’d had a chance to do anything wrong
the river is dangerous; don’t go fooling around

Years later I heard a different story:
late at night, all alone
no friend, no horseplay
a note left behind
not a slip, but a fall
through his own well of sadness
I think of him
as I reach for the weed
arm slicing against a thorn

this boy I never knew and
all the ways
the world can tear you open

 


 

Claire Taylor is a writer in Baltimore, Maryland. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications and she was a finalist for the 2020 Lascaux Prize in Poetry. Her micro-chapbook, A History of Rats, is available from Ghost City Press. Claire is the editor in chief of Little Thoughts Press, a print magazine of writing for and by kids. She serves as a staff reader for Capsule Stories. Find Claire online at clairemtaylor.com or Twitter @ClaireM_Taylor.

 


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