Says the Forest to the Girl
by Sally Rosen Kindred
Kindred offers an invitation to join the wolf & the girl in the forest, to walk in this fairy tale land of Rapunzel, Little Red, and Sleeping Beauty. Here, the forest speaks. “Drink the world / you won’t admit you want—” it says, “This / is the story; to wake // you must claim it, crow-close in the telling. Climb / in.” She empowers these women, crow-touched and sharp as a tempered blade, realizing a “story where / the hard-skinned woman / carries thunder and bread / through the wood.” This is a chapbook of poems full of dandelion, ash, and bone—she asks each woman or girl to make a choice, to realize a choice is possible: “What is it that waits / inside her, a nest / or a knife, a huntsman / or an open door?” (Porkbelly Press, 2018)
Sleeping Beauty Says Goodnight to Little Red
I won’t sing you to sleep, don’t ask me.
I know—torn hood, wet bread, your upturned basket
of stars—how hard it’s been: nights
in the wolf’s blood woods, and before,
in the oven of your mother’s womb.
I was a girl, too, before I went to bed.
I woke to this—motherless: bare head, tight dress—
a prince who could buy my life back with a kiss—
but when it starts to get dark in my fingers, I remember.
Nights now, I fall into some closed oak door
that’s not there. I’m unwelcome in dreams.
Some nights I have the prince for sleep
and that’s like a door, but stranger. Here,
child, lie down. No songs.
A lullaby is a broken cup waiting to slice your lip.
Close your eyes, hope for a hundred years.
Your hands are cold: I’ll hold them. Now go
from me: I’m unwelcome in dreams,
even yours. Sleep will cover the trees, their teeth
and eyes—sleep will leaf over the throat of blood
that dreams you back down. Sleep will come
and cover what we’ve lost: the bodies
of girls bending like trees in a dark wood.
Let’s not speak of it. Let’s not sing.
ABOUT THE POET
Sally Rosen Kindred is the author of two poetry books from Mayapple Press, Book of Asters (2014) and No Eden (2011). Her chapbooks are Darling Hands, Darling Tongue (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013) and Garnet Lanterns (2005), winner of the Anabiosis Press Prize. She holds an MFA from the University of Maryland and has received two Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Gettysburg Review, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, and Kenyon Review Online. She lives in Maryland with her husband, sons, cats, and a dog named after the moon.
ABOUT THE COVER ARTIST
Alexandra Eldridge, born of artist parents, received her BA in Art and literature at Ohio University. She co-founded an establishment for the arts, Golgonooza, based upon the philosophies of William Blake. She has had over 40 solo shows, and has participated in many group shows throughout the U.S. as well as many international exhibitions.
The cover is mixed media piece called "Subtle Bodywork."
Poems in this chapbook originally appeared in: The Adroit Journal, Border Crossing, Bramble & Thorn (Porkbelly Press, 2018), Cold Mountain Review, The Gettysburg Review, Goblin Fruit, Heron Tree, TAB: The Journal of Poetry and Poetics, Through the Gate, and Thrush. Four poems in this chapbook have been nominated for Rhysling Awards in various years (and are included in editions of Rhysling Anthology: The Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Poetry).
Dayna Patterson reviews Says the Forest at Tinderbox.