Cartography

by Nat Norland

You needn’t go far
To notice the difference.
The ground is the same
The trees are still there
But the air feels wrong.

There are no skulls, no bodies
No cheap horror film cliches.
If it wasn’t so stifling, you could almost enjoy it.
But it’s always so stifling.

It used to be a pilgrimage for you,
To sit there, in the clammy dusk
For as long as you could, before
It all became to much.
Time to run along home.

After a while, they started moving.
Whole sections of the map
Had to be cut away.
The fringes spread out.
You lost a metre or two each day.

The pilgrimages have stopped now.
Too tiring, too large a strain.
Scraps and cuttings of maps
Litter the table. Slowly
A picture is forming.

They’re all round the house now.
A perimeter wall.

When you pull down the tablecloth,
There’s a whole world under the table.
A half light sometimes shines
through the fabric horizon.
The ground is the same
But the air feels right.