The Sticks

by James Barrett Rodehaver

When you’re out in the sticks – the woods are a fortress – sunlight stabs down at you in bright daggers – I bet no one told you how a canopy is like armor.

I had a place in the woods where rules couldn’t touch me – 
little warrior boy with sticks beating up all the full grown men that ever left mama broken.

On the ground with a jar of bugs – benevolent demigod me who only knew enough to tear out earthy pieces of the woods and shove them in.

Love is often a tearing away – open heart surgery featuring pieces of us that don’t fit – and a partner who can play dead really well.

I played house – made a time machine too – went back in time – made mistakes – I must have – how else did playing house get so hard all of a sudden – why else would everything be my fault?

I preached in two different churches at the age of eight. I forgot the God is love part – was too busy memorizing bible verses – writing fire and brimstone sermons.

Whenever I was on my way to an ass whooping – I always wished I was someone else – someone strong enough to put the switch down.

Did you know hide and seek isn’t fun at all – if one person suddenly decides they don’t wanna play anymore?

When you grow up and the woods can’t hide you – you learn to disappear on the inside – you try and make yourself a fortress.

Best I could muster was a jar of ripped up roots and leaves – with a bug that knew how small he was – who was much loved – until the day he wanted out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: