Raymond B. Winter State Park, Pennsylvania


By Michelle S. Reed

1.

I have read

that there are owls

here,

             fairy shrimp

and caddisflies,

acres full

           of hidden eyes

and wings.

2.

Evergreens remind me
of funeral homes. Polished
pine and strange

embraces. I try not to write
about death, but maybe
all of my poems

are informed by memorial
services. My father
is a hunter. He shoots

deer and wild
turkey in dead of winter,
spends hours in a tree

in Michigan, saying nothing,
hoping for a chance to kill.

3.

This place
is nothing
like a city,

echo
of moss
and lichen spore

everywhere.
This place
is so much

like a city,
gray and broken
everywhere,

underbrush full
of detached

mandibles, hollow
exoskeleton
shine.

4.

I spend too much
of my time here
thinking about deer,
wondering if they
dream of summer
in mid march,
if they
shrink away
at the sight
of spiders,
if they care
about finding
meaning
in the forest,
if they huddle
close together,
shaking
when it grows
cold at night,
if they hide
or run
when they hear me
on this path
drawing near.

5.

Everything is full
of the sound
                       of winter leaving.
Sound of feather moss
returning
to forest floor,
sound of water bug,
sound of trees with branches
spindled toward sunlight
like spiders,

and sound of spiders
too.

Spiders hidden beneath
ages of dead leaves
and moth wings,

spiders
twining silk through
maple limbs,

spiders waiting
for fireflies
at twilight,
            spiders inching toward
the river
carefully.

6.

I wonder what my father
thinks of when he pulls
the trigger—maybe of the deer
and whether or not it will run, maybe

of the stillness in the trees
before violence.
Everything here
disappears into hemlock.

Trillium and black willow
obscured in needle-light,
whole bodies lost
to greenery. Today,

I found a bat face-down
beside the river, sunken
wings becoming
forest floor. 

7.

Even the sky

                        seems closer to me

when it’s mirrored in water.


Michelle S. Reed is a Michigan native working as a freelance writer and editor in Chicago. She completed her MA in English at Bucknell University last spring, and she is the founder and editor of  Pink Slayer (www.pinkslayer.com) an online feminist magazine.