Five Notes, Written on Blood and Tree Bark, Left on My Front Step During Spring Thaw
by Nicola Kapron, 3.24am July 10th 2021

1. Ross,

I’m not happy here
The kids, your parents, the PTA
The sheriff’s department, the leering grin
Pressed up against the windows at night

Is choking me

I want to live again

It’s been so long but I found it--
A path through the willows
Down by the rapids

We can get out
We can both be free of this place
Don’t say your reply out loud,
They will hear.

2. Ross,

Did you get my message?
The path is opening
It’s too small now, but I see it
A tiny hole in the winter ice

Leading down, down,
Into the river muck
Where vast amphibians sleep lightly
Old bones rotting in their mouths

When the ice opens, they stir
I’ll trade my bones
For the ones they’ve collected
Strip off my skin with knife-tipped fingers

Wash blood in spring melt

Only the trees will see

And speaking to them
Is forbidden

This is our chance.

3. Ross,

Please respond in writing
Scrawl your reply on the back
Of this note
And throw it into the woods

Where the sheriff
And the hunters
And the PTA won’t find it

We can still be more than we are
I’m waiting for you.

4. Ross,

River ice is melting
Today I fit my whole head down
Soon I’ll be sinking into black water
It will carry me out to sea

Into the abyss of fins
And tooth-filled suckers
And lamprey kisses
Far away from this town.

Last night I hammered on all your windows
Until my fingers bled
Begged you to come with me
On every post-it note in the house

But you didn’t look up from your book.

5. Ross,

I can’t do this anymore
Tell the kids I’m sorry

I wasn’t made to be a wife
Or a mother

I am going to be happy,
With or without you.

This poem was submitted by Ross Everleigh, 36, whose wife Tamsin has been missing since early Spring. If you have any clues as to Tamsin’s whereabouts, please inform the vast amphibians that are now awake and active beneath the river. They want to know if she’d like to meet up for coffee and a nice drowned jogger sometime soon.