By Rachel Custer
The woods call to me, too, from across this road,
from away from here, from the opposite
of houses filled with tired people,
from the constant grasping of small hands
that might as well own me. Who wouldn’t be calmed
by a path through the grabbing branches? Still
I don’t go to the woods, trusting more
in the noisy hate of the known world than in
the cold, true silence of a mirror. Here, in the dark
undergrowth of the mob, I am still afraid, but I am
not alone. Here I can weigh a stone in my throwing hand.
Here I can know the stone won’t be thrown
at me. Fear keeps me from the woods into which
you wade, eyes forward, again and again,
because the woods is silent
as it circles me. Here, with the tired people, I can
say to myself I am only tired, that the stone
in my hand can’t be wrong
if we’re all holding stones.
Rachel Custer’s first full-length collection, The Temple She Became, is available from Five Oaks Press. Other work has previously been published or is forthcoming in Rattle, The American Journal of Poetry, B O D Y, [PANK], and DIALOGIST, among others. She is currently completing the Tupelo Press 30/30 Poetry Marathon fundraiser. Visit her website at www.rachelcuster.wordpress.com.
Photo credit: .waldec via a Creative Commons license.