*black-out poem, adapted from
Douglas Dunn’s Landlocked
I am waiting for
I can’t remember listening
for dead longings
waiting, I listen
to the winding, small noises,
ships at night, sailing out
to where the sea
m i s s i n g.
I am the winged crow,
I am the thorns on a deceitful rose,
I am too loud, too sharp,
too wild for polite company,
not a teacup, a doily, a bud vase,
I am the whole twisted briar plant.
I am not the beast you break,
I have already been broken
and been repaired.
see all my rips and tears?
only something strong can
survive such a wreckage,
only something strong can
see how destruction tastes,
can spit it back out again with a smile.
I am the wild, the broken,
the beautiful mess of ruin built back up again,
and again, and again.
IN THE ORCHARD
inspired by Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti
when you are bare and bended
under their shadow,
they will split your hopes like fruit,
will pluck the light away, smash it like pulp,
will give you a taste of something else,
something sickly sweet, something you won’t say no to—because
you won’t want to anymore.
they’re hidden in plain view, within the rotted woods
grown in the landscape of your mind,
and the taste of what they offer, the
sweet, moldy smell,
from your clumsy fingers,
will render you speechless, dumb.
you cannot keep them out,
they are the villain that lives
in every fairytale you ever gave weight to.
ripe, fertile, dragging you down, the rich, sucking juices
will make you join them, will make you forget,
the orchard is calling you.
taste their tender mercies
until you no longer want to remember.
we drift in and out of
our own words,
we draw breaths up and out
of chests that are
heavied, hollowed cages
what is it tugging us back
again & again?
what is left to conquer of this earth
lifetime after lifetime?
my romantic heart says, “love; we have
yet to learn it.”
and I’m afraid to tell myself
this addition, “we cannot conquer love, we can only
surrender to it.”
how many more lifetimes will it take before we learn
that this is true?
how many wasted centuries have we spent
trying to make big words
out of something so simple?
I was gifted the world
and in return I gave it back,
split myself open,
swallowed what couldn’t be,
cradled, cushioned, cared for all.
I am the myth, both brutal and
billowing with kindness,
giving you a hundred natural cruelties,
and gifting you a million times
that in beauty, a thankless job for all that.
what have you given me?
what have you taken?
each time I weep, who is there to
lay their hands, their bare feet,
against my hide, and say,
I am sorry, and I love you?
yet still I would lay myself
out for you, spread open, splayed out
unarmed, rest myself at your shoes, and tell you
the same things:
I am sorry, and I love you.
we lived in a big house,
wide spread of field off to the left
where we parked our cars,
even though it wasn’t ours,
and I would go run in that field as rain
rained down on me,
as it drenched my hair, my clothes,
wishing I was naked, flowers strung in my
laughing, wet arms outstretched, to welcome
the wild, to invite it in
to celebrate, to say, yes, I am here, too
and someday I will rain down like this,
a free, beautiful, truth, knowing
how to make a mess,
how to grow things, too.
AMANDA LINSMEIER is the author of Our Wild Magic, Like Waves, and more. Her writing has been featured in Portage Magazine, Literary Mama, Brain, Child Magazine, Feminine Collective, Moonchild Magazine, and more. Besides writing poetry, she loves reading and writing fables, fairytales, and fantasy, and sometimes she pretends her Hogwarts letter is still coming. When she’s not writing, she works part-time at her local library and brings home more books than she has time to read. Amanda lives in the countryside, surrounded by trees, with her family, two dogs, and a half-wild cat named Luna.