08-06-2022 / Rosanna Graf

Crunching dead leaves under rubber soles. A slouching wandering move through the pit. Just trees and trees and moss and air filled with spores of shrooms. Lit up spores. Spores that move through my nose, shortly touch my tongue, before moving further down towards my lung. They linger there but can’t find ground to bed themselves. There’s just nothing solid to hold on to. Silently they vanish into my flesh.


I walk further, deeper into what seems like a tunnel, a tunnel of trees. A high ceiling of leaves stops sunlight from entering this world down here. It’s dark. The forest is quiet. There are no birds, or are there? I can’t hear them. Are they watching me? Watching my steps as I move further into the deeper part of the woods. Where the trees become thinner and stand closer to each other, leaning on to each other, carrying each other. A strange light. Portal-like branch-gates of bended wood. Waiting for me to step through them. Thus, preventing me from entering, by eyeing me. I still can’t hear noises. I’m in a cocoon. A big sleep. A breath that’s taking a whole day. It’s winter.

The forest is very still. The wind in the branches seems far away. I stumble over rotting wood. My feet doubtfully test the ground that is covered with the softest moss. I begin to fly while walking, I walk over sheep’s wool made of plant. I stop. I lost my way. I forgot where I was heading to. I’m running in circles. I forgot how to stand on uneven ground. How to adapt to a new terrain. I am all alone. My soles become part of the moss in discomforting speed. I turn into moss. No, I don’t. I turn into a stand in for a human. I lost myself. Suddenly a flash. A bouquet of lily blossom, of rose and vanilla. Incense soaked in juice. A scent so heavenly rich, almost liquid, almost touchable luring me into a dream like state. A smell that is able to cross centuries. A scent that can make someone cross a continent, just to experience it again, when it has flown away. But it hasn’t. It’s right here. Entering my nose, reaching for the inside of me. Musky, bewitchingly sweet and deep. My tired legs begin to wobble in a new direction. An unknown land. Following a promise. My steps become steady, my mind reboots. I’m starting to decode a new language; one I haven’t heard before. A chain of thoughts, of words, put into a smell. A spell. A flamboyant mouth that is opened. A tone that is of scent. Asking me to join. Asking to be touched. A voice of the essence of what aliveness means. It’s vibrantly colored. Millions of chemical compounds forming new, delicious vocabulary. I’m stalking unstably, blindly, towards the origin of that lustful call. I’m reached for. I have to answer. The cold in my body is long gone, I’m sweating. I’m trembling in a wonderful longing. I cross dead trees and moss; I foolishly jump over fox holes, and sticks, getting my clothes scratched by thorns and spines. I wildly move deeper into this living being of a forest. Enraptured. Doomed.

It’s getting darker here, and the trees stand closer and closer together as if to hinder me to reach the holy place. I stumble, I fall, but I can’t stop. I violently push them away, break them, kick them. I must continue. I must follow. This voice of a scent becomes heavier, wetter, more demanding, the closer I get. Yes, I can hear you! I understand! I know you and you know me! Wait for me! I’m coming! And then:finally. I stop, breathing heavily. I grasp for air, stop breathing completely, petrified by the sight of her. She is fantastic, breath taking, greater, bigger than I ever imagined. The complete whole of my being is carried towards her in a sudden cradling slumber. My limbs – numb. My heart pounding like it never has. A hot rush of butterflies perfuses me. Holds my organs hostage, makes them hers. The dark brown and muddy green of the forest is now permeated by her radiant light. This is the sight of worship. Deep purple, turning into an unsettling red, pinkish flesh – a body. It’s a church of a plant. A wet shiny skin, that is so plump it might burst. Lips and shoulders and legs and tongue all morphed into one. Perfection of beauty and symmetry and nothing of that. It’s a flower that reigns a whole forest. Her slowly moving tentacles are reaching out, reaching out to me? I can’t hold any longer. I must touch her, must become one with her. Must become hers. Her voice now fills me completely, but I want more. The next thing I know is me crawling on top of her, pressing my body against her soft, warm, pulsating skin. I have to reach into her mouth, to understand, to ease the pain. Hot tears stream down my face, mixed with the syrup like fluid that runs down her stem. I fill my mouth with it, but I need more. I almost go mad as I climb up higher, to where I suspect an entrance to her. And then, I reach the highest point. Reach the edge of her outer body, the edge, which, when overcome, will reveal what is inside. I finally look over the edge of her, one eye at a time. One fingertip after one fingertip reaching closer to the goal. And in that moment, while finally peering over, into the darkness of her insides, I’m beginning to understand. But it’s too late. Somehow the edge is sleekier than expected, and as I lean over to get a better view, I slip. My body almost fearlessly falls into her trap. Her fleshy flower body begins to tighten as soon as I hit the soggy ground. I still can see a bit of light coming from above, but the walls of my prison are too slippery to be climbed. Her talking has stopped. She is now too busy digesting. I defenselessly wait for it to end. She has me. I cry and laugh from the sudden realization, that she has me fully. I might at last become moss, become soil, when she’s finished with me.

ROSANNA GRAF (Künstlerin, Performerin, Regisseurin, Hexe, lebt in Hamburg und Berlin)

This text is part of the Hartikel Pocket Tales.