“What They Once Did” by Theresa Lockhart

“What They Once Did” by Theresa Lockhart

They once pulled out their hair
With pointed nails and replaced bloodied
Tresses with corn silk crowns.
They played tag in tallgrass prairies,
Laughing softly so bigger children
Would not tell their parents that
The earth speaks in rhymes and says its
Tenants deserve a fairer wage.

They once swam beneath barley waves,
Chewed on prize-winning tomatoes and
Knocked on doors humans made for them.
These days instead of dancing galliards
They lie in sheep tracks
Preserved in pastures
Softened by summer rains.
They now dance the pavane and
Plant poisonous toadstools
Where hungry people tread,
Make oak limbs creak above hunters’ heads
And sleep only when owls throw their saddles.
Their whispers flit behind thick doors,
Twirling like maple seed tumbleweed
As they wait for another child seeking a
Toothache remedy. Their fingernails scrubbed
Clean, they accept fern flowers
In exchange for a hallucinogen.

Theresa Lockhart is a high school Spanish teacher, college instructor, and amateur photographer whose poetry is forthcoming in Scifaikuest. She also enjoys writing speculative fiction, hiking, and traveling.