R. Mac Jones

Didn’t notice the road giving
from paved to gravel,
drabbling out slowly into bits,

like decades’ erosion in moments.

Didn’t notice the loss of songbirds,
twitters in the trees
left behind miles back,

like chests holding breath disappeared.

Didn’t notice. It’s not the road,
exactly, not the birds.
Something in the cross-between
is winnowing. A sun sets too early
and specks the tree branches
with the reds of a dying fire.

Miles back: an “Unincorporated” sign.
Miles and miles back: a house.

Only the woods hold, and the woods
hold – hands begin to slip
through the wheel. Thick
crosshatch of trees – no
thinning for centuries, no fire
dared, tall, canopied, but not

unbroken. Light stipples,
but the woods beyond the road
seem uncrossable,

like decorum or a screen door.

R. Mac Jones’ work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Star*Line, Right Hand Pointing, Liminality, Eye to the Telescope, Dreams and Nightmares, and elsewhere. He can be found online at https://rmacjoneswrote.com/.