Don’t engage with nature poems, they said, you won’t be able to get the images out of your head.
I like images, they make me afraid. Even atrocity needs a landscape to play out on. Pictures of
tanks in the changing seasons, silver gelatin prints of open pit copper mines, digitally
reconstructed hospital airstrikes. Iodine-orange streaks my chin. From drinking nickel tailings on
the coalblack bank.
A nature poem made me look at test shots of the disaster in a polished screen, a gray lake of
footage extending from the cerium factory. The nature poem was painting a plein-air study of the
disaster, it was therapeutic, I was crying and my mouth tasted like oil paint. The nature poem
showed me my reflection in the polished screen. I was like a painting, finally gorgeous.
Narrative is evil so I made a film with the nature poem in a wolf mask with a fully articulated
jaw. I went in the yard and shot the nature poem through my bedroom window. In another shot
the nature poem wraps kudzu around my neck. I always wanted to get fucked in the out-of-doors.
In the final shot the nature poem walks through the neighbor’s yard. The state we’re filming in
hasn’t met its wolf quota. The neighbor shoots the nature poem for real.
I had an evil dream, it was about art so don’t console me. I had a dream and I was possessed. I
went to the movies, they gave me amnesia. The nature poem was a seed buried in me like a time
bomb. I felt it split inside my suicide jacket. As the flowers started detonating I heard the nature
poem’s voice bleeding through crackle on the walkie talkie. “…even infected sunsets…” it said.
I went for a country drive with the nature poem. My hands were zip-tied to the steering wheel. It
was a beautiful country, pastoral and indistinct. The nature poem played cassette recordings of
my crimes while I drove. They were mostly about mimesis. Night turned the windmills into a
blinking net. What I took for a jeweled moon was just a crown of refinery lights.
Zack Anderson is from Cheyenne, Wyoming. His chapbook The Outlaw, The Red Ghost, Half-Lives, a Photogram Exposed by the Dirt is forthcoming from The Magnificent Field. Other recent work has appeared in Fairy Tale Review, The Equalizer, and White Stag. He currently lives in Athens, Georgia where he is a PhD student at the University of Georgia.