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THE VENGEANCE ALL AROUND US












From a Pew in the Woods

After you step into the barn to find a shovel, mosquitos buzzing in your ear, sucking blood from your ankles, branches cracking outside the sawmilled walls, maybe a deer, a fox, perhaps a coyote, a bear, no way to know, but you do see turkey vultures and hawks circling overhead as you walk out into the sun, chipmunks racing along rock walls, turtles down by the stream, black snakes hidden in tall grass where you shovel deep into the earth to unearth roots, the boundless spirit of life all around in the mysteries of these speckled woods, an unending darkness behind the sunlight, behind the moonlight, no flashlight to show the way, just an airy bioluminescent belief that it sparkles

in some beautiful and awful harmony,

this hallowed planet spinning perfectly

through endless space, orbit after orbit,

the whirring in your ears telling tales

of such heartache, such pain, so much sorrow,

so much rage in the faces you pass

on Main Street, the grimaces behind the smirks

on Facebook, haunting you until you drop

the shovel and sit on a fallen log, a pew,

looking out through the shadows,


wondering if all this fury is just Cain’s

terrible story told again and again,

one lost and bitter soul after another

stumbling blindly through the human forest

seeking revenge for eons of disappointment,

countless generations of impotent rage

at God forsaking them their meager gifts,

for making this mystifying life, this indifferent

life, this world without end, some Lucifer

whispering in our ears about a Paradise,

not lost, but stolen out of our callused hands.


–SL, New Paltz, NY, July 2022





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