Scarecrow

 

Foreword

Parts of this piece have been swirling about in my head since 1992, this was when I first heard of Robert Pickton and the gruesome finds on his pig farm in British Columbia (Canada).

The facts surrounding the case are disturbing enough, but the fact so many women (49) were simply disposed of, erased off the face of the earth without a trace is what haunts me.

This piece is loosely based on those events, it is not meant as an essay or exploration of the case, only an exploration of my nightmares since.

 

SCARECROW

What hills are guarded by ragged idle straw hands,
whilst wormwood rots underfoot a scarecrow woman
adorned by gossiping birds nesting in her chest,
between shoulder blades

On what hills is earth severed in the daylight by
callused hands, forced agape by speculum plough
pulled by the force of whipped red oxen stained with
gray matter of sun scorched earth, permanent stench
of branding smoke on ribs

What hills are shrouded by the hum of descending
fog, of nightfall illuminated by singing cicadas,
the splitting light beams of the country house gas lamp
and gleaming pickaxes leashed to the wrists of
backyard moonshine men penetrating earth, toiling a
clearing beyond the eyes of the passing railroad, the
festering cattle bones glowing gray in the averted
gaze of moonlight staring between spread fingers
at a feast of men dressed in slaughter house red

On what hills do barn sparrows whisper the secrets
of hills beyond the coat button eyes of a woman scarecrow
into her ears, secrets of festering flesh and broken bones,
hanging ears hanging listening to the weeping of willows
drowning in crying shame, of lungs filled with dirt, the song
of contorted limbs embracing a casket of warm soil for one
hundred years, wishing for one hundred years of warm
children never borne from their sledge shattered pelvis

What hills guarded by a woman scarecrow in the
shrouded hum of night does a gas lit window stream
screaming carved bones, flesh severed agape by cutting steel
of backyard moonshine men with the breath of copper
mine throats burnt by the taste of flesh, of skull hammer
intentions

What good can come of these hungry machete nights,
what crop will grow on these blood soaked hills,
what will be born in the harvest season of hell
between scorched thighs of forgotten women,
beneath the gaze of barnyard sparrow nights

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