Tourist Trap by Clare O’Brien
This garden is not safe. Not a refuge for worn-out minds
or feet. We tell you there are acres to explore. We lie.
We say nothing of the depth. Years have soaked into its soil
with the rain. Look deeper and there is more than on the map.
The paths are nothing. Here history moves with predatory stealth.
The monstrous flowers you admire have eaten people’s eyes
who looked on them too long. They are nourished on your gaze.
Tall trees have slaughtered thirty at a time. Severed arms
grope blindly at the air, their dry bark flaking. In the autumn,
when the fruiting starts, you can gather up their nuts.
There are goddesses here. Gods too, stalking upside down,
their glassy feet mirroring your soles. Their bodies stretch
beneath you like a shadow. Under their massive gravity
your legs will sink, your hollow mouth will fill with soil.
You will forget your name to feed their rooted memory.