Before I make up the forest
I fill it with pheasant, with
a curious moth, apples and pecans,
and a wandering serpent
(who later becomes a troubadour)
I mop the forest floor, I hang curtains in trees,
I string cranberries and popcorn
in the limbs of the hemlocks above.
This is before the blight,
before thunder and lightning.
I pick your pockets, I brush out
your blond pony tail.
You take off everything but your argyles.
I hang your pocket watch off its long fob,
directly over our heads.
I kiss the pulse on your neck.
I want to say a word, a phrase, but we haven’t
studied Socrates. I’m not even sure if we’ve
invented him, truthfully. We are consistent
with soft rain, with peacocks, and conch shells.
We scatter sea glass.
Of course there is a tortoise,
of course there is a hare.
But there are words you are afraid of,
in between sighs and cuckoos,
in between green mountains and hovering dragonflies.
All the lanterns we have strung, the grinning
monkeys, the silver slip of a moon.
You touch my lips with your finger
and tell me “no”
You thrust and sing.
The pocket watch swings
back and forth rhythmically
Laurie Byro‘s short stories and poetry have appeared in dozens of presses including: Loch Raven Review, The Literary Review, Triggerfish, Snakeskin, Redactions, and Chaminade Review, among others. In January 2011, Laurie was named one of the “Poets of the Decade” by the IBPC competition for her 2000-2010 work, amassing more awards than any competing poet. Her chapbook The Bird Artists was published in 2009 and Laurie was Poet Laureate of Allendale, NJ from 2009 to 2013. Her work draws on myth and fairytale and her experiences of foreign places in the years she worked as a travel agent. Laurie has been facilitating Circle of Voices, poetry discussion in NJ for over 15 years, currently at the West Milford Township Library where she is Poet in Residence.
Rhiannon Thorne‘s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Midwest Quarterly, and The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review, among others. She is the Managing Editor of cahoodaloodaling and an associate interviewer and a book reviewer atUp the Staircase Quarterly.