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Rural Gothic by Despy Boutris

Rural Gothic

by Despy Boutris

published in Zócalo Public Square, April 16, 2021

Loneliness thick as the fields of wheat. Wheat I walk through daily, scent of heat and silt. It shimmers in the breeze, the sun unfurling over the hills. I stand at the edge, cupping my mouth around someone’s name. A cloud of gnats makes chaos of the August air. We need a word for this: feeling far from home when you’re right there. And what is to miss but a catch in the throat, the scent of spoiled fruit, the highway beckoning like larksong. The fall

from the oak that fractured my arm. Once, out walking, I found the grass scattered with lamb bones, picked clean and bleached white, the ribcage curved like a ship’s hull. I want to learn to be open like the lake, to wet the freckle on someone’s jaw. I want to be wilderness, the sound of my shoes trampling weeds and sprigs of straw. Scent of earth and wheat. Crows lounge on telephone wires. I lick the sweat from my upper lip. I’ll call it salt. Something snaps underfoot. A field mouse’s skull. I’ll call it rock, not bone.




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