Bread from a Stranger’s Oven
A girl makes her way through forest gems,
sneakers on a rug of purple violets,
a sequined bandana for her head.
Under moss she keeps soup cans
and a rusted opener, snacks on early ferns
and meadow rue.
An oak tracks her height, its low branches
reach to brush her hair,
crickets and owls up all night tease her to join
but hers is a solitary game.
She pierces her ears with agates, greases her heels
in bog, weaves twigs around her waist,
dreams of baking bread, its journey from oven
to table, where she’ll sit,
eyes on the woman’s hands holding the loaf,
the crusted end cupping butter.
that night she sleeps on a bed of coins
and from somewhere on the beach
she hears a familiar cry
air can barely hold such grief
she wants to open into the sea
gape underwater like a whale
moaning out for leagues
in the stuff that cupped first scream
her mouth on the broken edge
of creation and fields of hurt
beyond the waves
under a blanket of ocean
whales migrate dark in soaked dark
go back to bed
fill the mattress with something softer
until there are birds
Bone Hollow Road
The moon’s in heat, chiffoned in crimson gauze.
In the meadow deer eat apples, nibble from trees
they trust are meant for them.
The day before fruit is perfect to pick,
they stand at low branches for easy bites,
lift high on hoof-tip for the greedy getting—
give me Romes, Cortlands, Macouns.
Now begins the season of deer under apples,
red moon low, raccoon young without mother,
and addled postmistress confused by scale,
who ponders how much it’ll cost
to get a small package out of here.