inheritance is the incorrect word for the righteous
pulse that stutters when i learn of this history,
how the story spills teeth on asphalt.
each document in the fruit archive
is a red-soaked landscape,
a forget-compass leaving bruises on the map.
under every map, a new map— secret
as joy & ancient as erosion. marble faces
with age-busted visage, like stolen
territory etched with opulent monuments
to a forgotten resistance. i find too brilliant
pebbles speckled with blood, evidence
that someone once was alive carving desires into stone.
stone shelves worn, chipped
like a brick thrown back. in the fruit archive,
the water rises. brief flood
swelling tomes into indecipherable violence,
river-urgent end of a heterosexual reign.
rain seeps through the ceiling of the fruit archive,
riot of seeds splitting open easy as a skull.
the dirt is bloodwet & blooming rage,
and here, even drowning
in what is never said aloud,
i find a worthy inheritance.
Derek Berry is the author of the novel Heathens & Liars of Lickskillet County (PRA, 2016), and poetry chapbooks GLITTER HUSK and BUGGERY, recipient of the 2020 BOOM Chapbook Prize from Bateau Press. They live in South Carolina.