Dockyard Press

DaishinStephenson

trichobezoar — 3 August 2020

by daishin stephenson

gloaming eased to darkness, the wind blew steady. a hut nestled within a copse of trees stood above the animal path.

i entered and sat on the earthen floor. there was a small hearth and fire.

i began to cough.

within my throat, a deep scratching tickle intensified. i began to retch. i rolled onto my hands and knees and vomited a dark, long, stringy mass. it was a thick rope of hair.

a few wet hairs stuck to my lips and face; i felt them move as my stuttered breath slowed. i placed the mass of hair in the fire. it smoldered before burning.

from behind, something moved towards me from the corner darkness. i leaned back against its legs to rest. it placed a thorny branch in my left hand and painted three horizontal stripes across my forehead. i closed my eyes. the skin beneath the stripes stung.

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burden — 25 April 2020

by daishin stephenson

a hut at the edge of a forest. it had no door and was dark on the inside.

i stepped into the hut to get out of the elements.

inside, i sat down on the floor, the entrance on my right.

something in the corner to my left had a halo glow. a staff with a three-pronged headpiece moved in the illuminated shadow.

it asked what dirt i brought inside.

“arrogance and impatience,” i answered.

the clangor of bells and gongs filled the space.

something hot yet cold touched my forehead.

it said if i kept walking the dirt would wash away, that anger was water.

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conversation — 5 February 2020

by daishin stephenson

i am walking through a muddy field. ridges and ruts from large vehicles litter the landscape.

i step in a puddled rut, my sandal lost to its muddy depths as i pull my foot free.

a wind gust blows into my face. i turn my head. a brutalist tower stands to my left. i wonder where it came from and walk towards it.

the entryway doors, built of glass and steel, are open. i walk inside. the interior of the lobby is clean. instead of furniture, piles of rubble punctuate the space. a rabbit sits atop some debris. it appears old: cutouts and nicks on both ear edges, the short hairs growing there are illuminated by window light; bald patches dapple its body. it is wearing an ascot.

the rabbit asks, “why are you here?”

i answer, “i walked through the doors.”

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poem — 30 December 2019

by daishin stephenson

homeless man slips off coat wraps up dog

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crow — 19 December 2019

by daishin stephenson

i sipped coffee and looked out a window. a crow lay in the yard under the white oak.

hours passed, the crow had not moved.

i approached the bird. blood oozed from its nostril, its leg bent at the knee in a direction it should not. i picked it up, carried it inside.

i placed the bird on a floor pillow. beside the pillow, a bowl of water.

we spent the afternoon there on the floor.

the crow died on the pillow. i felt loss, sadness. death is commonplace, part of the cycle. i sometimes forget that and it is good to be reminded.

​this is what happens when you invite something wild into your home.

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