“Decay”, “Falling Through the Ice” and “Coping Mechanism”



Rose oil, sandalwood

and lavender—poured over

honeycomb piles deep in

rumbling woods. Bare feet

missing twigs, silence heard

but for birds, and low hums of

red earth. Scratch marks stretch

across rotten logs filled with purple

thyme. Jawbone, half buried in wet

dirt, sun-bleached, silver fangs and

red tips—half face, half smile. Bee

bodies lay dead on molding leaves as

rumbling turns to weeping—vein

blood, red as death, drips on

dry, cracked combs.

Falling Through the Ice

I know what it’s like to watch

a good man die, and survive.

Aftermath is an icy lake, but

I can’t see the weak spots.

The fall throughs are often

unexpected—swallowing blue-

satin water, only to vomit up

frozen memories and ice. The

sad parts—yes. Anger—yes.

Wooden porch—yes. Rusty

chainsaw, chipped tooth, and

leaking oil—yes. The final

package of grape flavored

kool-aid tucked between two

packages of brown gravy—not

so much. I fell through when I

came home at dark and the

patched chair was empty. I

fell through when the irises

bloomed and they didn’t

last long enough. I fall in my

dreams, every night. When I

wake up—nothing but frosted

windows and frigid darkness.

Coping Mechanism

I moved through oxidized tendrils

of light—my canopy of copper grief

in a perpetual state of rust. I’ve tried

to move on from my dead, but back-

roads don’t always lead home, and

their signs are hard to read. I walked

a dirt path laden with overgrown

thistles and mares-tail, only to wind

up back here, behind streaked stained

glass, clutching a broken whiskey jar

between blood-bathed fingers. So I sat

down in the green light and asked the

shards if they could take me home instead.

About the Author

Tia Cowger

Tia Cowger is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University. A poet at heart, her work has been published in Eastern's literary journal The Vehicle, Toe Good, Bloodpuddles, and Gone Lawn.