16th Avenue

Behind is nothing
but tenebrous mountain peaks looming
close to home and a trail of oil from
something rumbling in the dark.

Ahead farmlands sink impetuous beneath
a foot of rain so fence posts protrude
like arms from a grave
though they don’t wave for help
and there’s no bell to pull.

Willow trees bend to shelter the road,
fissures travel snake-like
along their own paths; where
are they going?

Toward the farmhouse with bell-chimes
hanging from the porch or the barn
missing its roof or the gravel drive
dissipating beneath pines gaping
like an open wound.

It doesn’t matter; we’ve gone too far and
have passed everything of importance.
The mountains have brightened,
illustrious silhouettes lit from behind
by the rising sun.

The sky detonates in the rearview
window, a violent oil spill,
rose-gold brilliance.

Catherine Friesen (they/them) is a queer and non-binary writer, editor, sometimes illustrator, and all-around nature lover living on the side of a mountain. They majored in psychology and creative writing in their undergrad and are currently working through art therapy grad school. When they’re not reading or writing, they can be found baking cakes, singing to their plants, or getting lost in the woods.

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