In the old forest light: anemic
through branches,
you are born
among the defeats
of autumn, the bloods,
orange-browns.
Hardening mud
yields to a spear
mottled purple with bruises—
you emerge
though the world
is cold.

Grandparents warn
of you on muggy days
when flies hang: suspended
in air, but children
venture into swamps, beyond
white clapboard houses
with doors
that slam too loudly.

Heart-shaped,
a curled sneer,
you grasp blooms
at the core, though a legend
warns feet
to tiptoe. Leaves folded with memories
of cold winter—
all who touch you soon know
their mistake.

 

This piece first appeared in the Sandy River Review.

>> Return to Work