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  • Lammergeier Staff

shroud | j.m. moss

Updated: Aug 20, 2019



your last breath rattled from houston to highway twelve

and you never did see

the buttes and white mesas, mouthless gods

with arched backs, the earth a brash red

as though punctured, irritated, dry and rasping;

temple spires piercing tropospheric skin

one final time.


the glint of your knife echoed the gleam of your teeth,

your smile as wide as my father’s scowl, his eyes

yellow and searching his Busch for pieces of you; denim or leather,

club patches, frayed tires, and take his fill,

bloat his liver to bursting—

maybe once the bile and bitter acids are expelled, you will spill out

and reform; dull the ache inflamed, just shy of septic,

chasing the edges of your ghost.


i never knew if your body twisted, collided with the carpet or the street,

if your blood ran like muddied clay, if your fingers curled

against someone, or empty space

while the bullet made your body like bauxite,

the ore gone dark, each hole filling

with remembered whispers, found and overturned

from bassinet to pallor mortis.


my chest burns with the thought of pilgrimage;

i dreamt not of you, but of the flat expanse before cliffs

that tower over your resting place,

that mighty exhalation of soil and seed,

born of necrosis, voiceless as you—

but still i believe i will hear you, carried on mountain air,

not wet or howling, hunched or gasping,

but rising from each hidden crevice,

crumbling stone, chipped church paint

to form a prayer on the water, testament on stone

where my eyes read your name.


here i will plunge shaky arms through the thick of your plot

break the surface of hot sediment

and rusted shell casings

to say i may have never known you but i know you’ve never left.





J.M. Moss (they/them) is a queer writer of color and freelance artist from south central Texas. They enjoy monsters, space, and the quiet horror of the unknown. 


Twitter: @sevenstarisle