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December 31, 2021

Bury Me in a Black Tee

TJ Fuller

I cannot kill this tree of heaven. Every part I chop spreads the seed. The roots go deeper. Professionals tell me my floor is sagging. This is the time of year to pour on bleach, hope the tree sucks it up with the sap. The wind catches the stink and my neighbors mug. I pretend I have no idea where it is coming from.

Portland scabs with the routine of riots. Leaf blowers against the tear gas. Cement in the milkshakes. I should have rhino skin, for the cracks in my foundation, declared emergencies, more boarded windows, Business Open written on the plywood. The guy who sells me the spade says he didn’t even lose his glass. He pulled it out prematurely. I have toad skin too, easy to pop. I have the anger, but none of the muscles to rage.

Reddit tells me to stop cutting until the poison gets absorbed. I cannot tell which cracks are new. They rainbow the basement and click along the siding. I take pictures. I buy more bleach.

It might be nice to be crushed by my house. All of the exercise equipment and petitions and unfinished novels. The mold and bookmarks and low calorie soda.

Tonight we riot for a boy shot in the middle of an overdose. He tapered in his car, but when the cops saw a gun on the seat, they shielded up and aimed their rifles. Cowards like me.

Any time the mayor even pokes at the chief or union, more bastards emerge. Their reach grows longer. Digs deeper. The newest rumor is of a slow down. Work shitty until they worship us. Until we get everything we want.

Preachers and skateboarders and librarians. Vapers and LARPers and lawyers. We hog the intersections. We chant and sing. I bring handfuls of the seeds. Thin skin pockets. I shake them on the tree belts outside the courthouse. I chuck them into the shrubs and dump a few in every drain I see. Godspeed, aliens.

I say it too to the kids with the fireworks and ski masks. Godspeed, aliens.

Bangs and radios echo. Gas leaches. This time, I stay. Slow down. There is no way to callus ahead of time. It happens out here. In the middle. Against the moment. Waiting to be crushed.