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
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:
on exterior of hatch.
A hand—no, your hand—
toys the lock.
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.