Moonsick Magazine, a journal promoting women, queer, and non-binary voices, was a publication doing what it clearly means to do: challenge the traditional literary canon of cisgendered white men. It’s one of those journals that I’m positive cisgendered white men would send to all the time, even when the guidelines specifically make it clear which voices the journal is calling for.
But they also had an annual DUDE issue, and “Leave No Trace” was in that one. It’s humbling to have work welcomed into this space, and I hope you enjoy it, but also hope you enjoy going back to the issue regularly to read essential, yet marginalized, voices.
The journal is on a hiatus, but that poem is here for you:
Leave No Trace
We only privately speculate how to return
to the earth, yet always seem to find
an egg sandwich toward the edge of wilderness,
which is a fuel I’ve burned with no effort. Tons.
I detail an entry in the Pinewood Derby,
and race for those Navy nuclear engineers,
the artifactual tools that come to rest
in their children’s basements. Pop had them all.
Did you know I had a little yellow kerchief, got rides
to meetings of scouts at den mothers’ homes?
At least there was the weight of pocket knives,
though no lessons on their usefulness. One night
mom just kicked the banister off the side
of the stairs and toss rails, wholly splintering
into the face of that wood stove to keep us warm.
If we had another shot, I’d approach all lumber
barefoot, and ask it what it wants to be.
I’d know when it’s had enough, snapping, swelling
out the old nails through the rainy season.
How tired it has become, holding your motion-
triggered lights. Its angles are so sloppy, a lifetime
of a strained spines, longer than I can think.