A long procession. Everyone young, everyone naked, waiting in line beside a small grove of elm trees. In the heart of the grove is an altar.

The people are silent. They have all taken lethal barbiturates. One by one they enter the grove and sit down amongst the trees.

One woman cannot bring herself to sit down. She looks around for chinks in the composure of the others. She is panicking inside, dreading the hot greedy flush of the poison entering her bloodstream and moving up to her brain: she’s not ready.

A man in front of her staggers, sits heavily and falls sideways.

The woman presses her face into the bark of a tree til her skin and its are meshed almost. She longs to pass through the surface, through the phloem and the cambium and  into the sapwood; to travel up to the leaves and be exhaled, or down to the roots and be released into warm blackness.

What is the antidote to the poison?

Why have we surrendered?


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