Lineage by Jay Douglas

Somewhere a hunter takes aim
pulling back, then loosing
the string of his bow and, arrow in flight, he shouts
“Marco!” into the trees

Somewhere a child tells his father I’m a boy
while his mother cries over porcelain doll faces
white as her chemo-stretched skin
and his father doesn’t say
.              anything
except to tell the child no

Somewhere the mountains wear skin
and dive into creeks to chase
the shadow of a heron

Somewhere God is a woman
sitting rigid in a hickory pew
reciting psalms in a bored monotone
while the stained-glass windows silently lecture
predestined truths about death, sex, and taxes

Somewhere a grazing deer lifts its head
to bleat “Polo”
but too late
it is on the ground, air escaping its parted lips
.              dead
and the hunter is showing his child
the bare, bloody heart
and the child
is crying

Somewhere a mechanically-minded
father with sawdust under his fingernails
and grease-stained jeans is taught by his father
how to oil a gun, fix a motor, and build a deck
but never how to stop
drinking or how to cry when he needs to
grieve his dead wife

Somewhere God is a mother
and the mountains grow hooves

Somewhere a girl becomes
a boy or always was

Somewhere the heart of the woods beats
amid brambles and thorns
and I am holding
a bow
and my father is holding
a bow
shouting “Marco! Marco!”
over the body
of a dead deer

Jay Douglas is a poet, fortune teller, and proud Appalachian hailing from the coal country in Western Pennsylvania. When not writing, Jay enjoys collecting yo-yos, gaming, and complaining about the weather. Jay’s work has previously appeared in Words Dance, Red Flag, and Rising Phoenix Review.


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