Alexander Rabb CC
Forest, Early Autumn
I fix on the overstory.
How the trees slip their reds
and yellows on bit by bit.
Once, I was a detail in the understory--
I bloomed in shade
like some weird poisonous plant--
and also the victor of a fable written
before I was conceived,
before I germinated in the scat
that covered the whole of my childhood.
Why did my father strive
to drag me back to Hades at twilight
on Wednesday night?
I want to write
about the forest, the way leaves change
in a seductive, slow dance in early autumn.
I want to explore root systems, how parent
trees guide nutrients to their sapling.
I want to tell you trees grow close to each other
over great distance and many years.
He tried to drown me in his bottle of sorrows.
He keeps it by his side while he ticks
columns of who wronged him, how and why.
Trauma is delicate
twenty years can pass
and like a hair-trigger pistol someone explodes.
Someone says, enough.
Suzanne Frischkorn is the author of Lit Windowpane (2008), Girl on a Bridge (2010), and five chapbooks. Her poems have recently appeared in Juked, Los Angeles Review, The Night Heron Barks, Pine Hills Review, SWWIM, Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy (Trinity University Press, 2020), NPR's Poetry Moment podcast, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the Aldrich Poetry Award for her chapbook Spring Tide, selected by Mary Oliver, an Emerging Writers Fellowship from the Writer’s Center for her book Lit Windowpane, and an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.
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