Moss Mill

Elizabeth Kolenda

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.

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Elizabeth Kolenda grew up in rural New England and received her BA from Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School and her MFA in Creative Writing from Louisiana State University. She is currently living on the coast of Massachusetts and working on a degree in counseling.

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Ian U Lockaby

mercury firs is a new journal of poetry and text, with a special interest in translation and ecologically-engaged writing.

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