The Long Grass

the second law of thermodynamics says that entropy always increases with time

that first step in, the long, green grass squeezed beneath my shoe, a rock path, a house, fresh eggs, a drumbeat, the cinnamon smell of burning candles. Just moments before, my mind had numbed itself to only make sense of the grass clutching at my bare legs. Now I have steel thoughts. All around me the bitter emotion of nature, spurned as she was, the low hum of a thousand insects, the cracking of the harvest left behind, the crowds of dying plants, crushed by summer’s retreat, my feet. And then the panic rises that there would be no end, just interminable walking, mining autumn’s satisfaction against my drudgery, observing the way my spirit crumbles, trapped running. I carry a little box of pins inside my skirt pocket, nestled against my leg, and, every time I take a step too large, it jostles and jumps. I am wrapped in the familiar smell of sweet insomnia, wanting to smoke and wipe the sweat from between my breasts with something more than just my first and second fingers. It tastes of a heat that leaves my body too quickly. I dream of showers. I unrecognise myself. I recognise myself too well. Above me, a bird squawks and I watch it circle, feathers so black it is more than shadow, swooping arcs into the sky, movement in time to my elevated heartbeat and it seems to know in me that I have always been afraid of the way a bird can so easily fly away

SK Grout (she/they) is a writer, editor and poet. She grew up in Aotearoa New Zealand, lived in Germany and now splits her time between London and Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau. Her debut pamphlet What love would smell like is published with V. Press (2021). She holds a post-graduate degree in creative writing from City, University of London, and is a Feedback Editor for Tinderbox Poetry. Her poetry and reviews are widely published in the US, UK, Europe and the Pacific, including Ambit, Cordite Poetry Review, dialogist, Glass, Poetry Wales and Finished Creatures. Website: