Fred Dale



that’s coming, is a dark imprint of our official trail marker,
the sign, a kind of rope that guided our walk day by day.

It materialized on fence posts in the distance, across vast
meanderings of sheep and cows, at the drained corners
of wheat fields, bomb testing sites, cliffs like hand cut cake,
and against rising streets in old vacation towns, places where
people are willing to walk a mile or more to find an ocean
for their children, the cold choking waves, a rocky shelf
on which to unspool their progress under the concave blue.

In its trampled nature, the acorn sleeps jumbled on its side,
but as our sign, it’s upright—the seed, a Fabergé egg, a silo
in a wooden cupule, its stem below, veering to the left, a thin
cartoon beard. My wife says she sees a penis, and every time
she’ll look there, she’ll think of penises, and I’m thinking
this tattoo idea keeps getting better,

but it’s time for the marking, the black light poked into my
right forearm, the spot where my Grandfather had a heart
installed when he was young, a dagger daggering through
the tied, misshapen muscle, a tear drop of blood off its tip,
closer to him in the end, than his wife, plotted a few aisles
to the west in Greenwood.

This acorn will rise to the surface from where it has always
been. We are inked already. Our idle apparitions just out
of sight, under the smoke of our inner workings, veins
of pictograms, next to (maybe) a bluebird, or a skull of ants
that remain hidden, uncalled—the acorn forever telling
where I am and where I’ll be, free of the stem one day,
buried and scavenged, a place on me she’ll not touch again,

a tree in the skin waiting. 


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