In the Forest of Dreams Left Scavenging



I couldn’t fault the moon

for not appearing the night you left.


I could have hidden behind shadow



Believe the world is wild but meaningful

and you will spend your nights looking for water where there is none,

sensing weather that won’t come.


When you left,

I dreamed a mirror in the sky was burning.

I dreamed the red moon told me how to love.


These stories tell themselves:


a boy walks down the road

and into the woods.


A girl wants to follow

but can’t—


wolf-dog biting at her ankles,

one arm tethered to a post in a field.

Learning to Love the Bomb Shelter



Rain is a science.

So is death.


So is waiting with your ears plugged

until someone taps you on the shoulder


and says: It’s okay now.

The mute girl in the corner


might be you, might be memory collapsing.

(What you carry, what you lose.)


Outside, six-legged wolves

float above a lake.


The moon is skinless,

blameless. Sirens worn thin


still struggle to warn.

How to escape:


See instructions

on exterior of hatch.


A hand—no, your hand—

toys the lock.


Leaves it.




When I’m leaving the field,

you’ll start loading the wagon.


A trail of dust is a trail of love.


I’ll hold onto you

like a rope tied to the horizon of a vast desert.


Every morning, I clutch to my chest a piece of glass

wrapped in paper and hogweed.


One day there will be a sun that shows us its teeth

and we’ll be afraid, but grateful.

Jessica Poli is the author of the chapbooks Alexia (Sixth Finch), Glassland (JMWW), and The Egg Mistress (Gold Line Press). Her work has appeared in Best New Poets, Caketrain, and Southern Indiana Review, among others. She is a graduate of Syracuse University’s MFA program, and the editor of Birdfeast.