#1
Children borne unto darkness
clamber up the serpentine branches
of dead trees in a vast forest.
Their skin is coalblack
and their eyes like mineshafts.
They creep the way creatures do in nightmares,
letting sounds give their position
but invisible when looked upon,
the essence of paranoid fear.
They watch as a dead god gathers sticks
to make a campfire for the others.
He is hairy and sweaty,
clumsy and knock-kneed.
He belches heartily
and the noise scares away the ghosts of the birds.
Scratching his backside,
he returns to his camp,
unaware of the eyes above,
those cold dark pits.
A fire is lit


and the children scream
and climb up, higher,
and they break the canopy for the first time in their lives
and they are blinded by sunlight
and they fall back through those twisted gnarled branches
and land hard, cold, dead upon the dark ground
and they are encircled by mocking spotlights


One child of eleven, maybe twelve
lands in the fire
and snuffs it
out



Pronounce the title as FOOR-witch-uh