We are all living above our own moss mills. Beneath every step is a record. There are several doors, all leading back to the same underground room packed with rusty equipment. There is no moment when I first became aware of the moss mill. It moved beneath me like a current, like a mirror that reflects light into the dark. If I am awake I pay no attention, which should worry me but doesn’t. When I start to drift off I suddenly remember with a distorted sense of urgency, my moss mill is filling up, my moss mill is slowing down. I pack boxes of mildewed documents. Stuff worn clothes into paper bags. When I climb down the steep wooden steps into the mist I find that my moss mill is mostly full. I can’t even reach the bottom of the stairs. Instead, I take the boxes and shove them as hard as I can along the top of some other boxes.
Everything I have ever consumed or touched is here. Ours aren’t connected, everyone’s moss mill is unto itself. I began moving underground in the absence of touch. One thought pearls up and I skim it off. I have never wanted to be the understory. I have always wanted to be in excess. I have always wanted to be an absence of touch. I have always wanted to be churning. I have never wanted to be absence. Gray-green brush. I have always wanted to have. I have always wanted. I have always downy mildew thought wanted I have never wanted always here I have always wanted in the dark.
Copyright © 2022 by Elizabeth Kolenda.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.