I think it's time to dismantle-

a baler as big as the weight of June.


My body shivers, sits up, and finds

a field of thistles in full scream and bloom.


Each prick is a chance to stay. To leave

a bit of that body behind. And I

haven’t washed in days. Haven’t prayed

or figured how to field dress in a skirt.


Is this what we call having land?


Take a piece, chew it ‘til your mouth is dry.


That body tries to plié—to toe the tips

of vivid purple ‘til they’d call me


or simply that thing up there.


Should I let it happen?


The body twists in the wind, pale and rough—it takes

—like sheet metal takes a deadfall tree.


The body changes, together.


It takes in the white ends of clover, sucked

for a quiver of sweet. Touch-me-nots. Twine,

cut and tossed. Husk, undressed.


Their back arches and the neck goes limp;

The thistles grow an inch closer to the wilt;


As if the sky was just the sky;


As if bleeding out were somehow glamorous—




Travis spends his spare time writing about sidewalks and photographing the neighborhood cats. His recent writing explores the conflicts that come with trying to embrace his Appalachian background while also welcoming an untethered, honest self-exploration. His work has previously appeared in Souvenir.