A woman walked into the forest and never came out. In this wood, there are eyes rimmed with pine and brush and hunger so deep it could bend bones. They say she wanted a child, but her body curled away from blood and so she was swallowed whole, her organs evanescing one by one like mist on the creek’s stagnant waters. They say the trees breathed her in, siphoning her life because their own children perished in the fire. Flames had cast their skeletal remains to the forest floor— this graveyard for squirrels and saplings. And all that remains of the woman is the timbre of leaves scratching against their boughs. They say you can hear rustling in the stillest of winters. See, even the bark is weeping.
Taylor Hamann Los is an MFA student at Lindenwood University. Her poetry has appeared in Parentheses Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Split Rock Review, and Rust + Moth, among others. She lives with her husband and two cats in Wisconsin. You can find her on Twitter (@taylorhamannlos) and Instagram (taylorhlos_poetry) or at taylorhamannlos.wordpress.com.
On this night of salt and fire, this night the praying men warned of, the mountains deepen to indigo with unshed grief. Here there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, water tumbling into the pit. O boy with bedraggled cap, didn’t you know how the goats would cry when you stacked kindling by their pen? O girl with dirty apron, help me press the fog like gauze to our wounds. We’ll unspool the next hours with blackened fingers, rain hissing on hot earth. I have tasted this smoke before, heard chthonic deities writhe against their chains. Here there is shucking of souls, graves cracking open among the walnut trees. Tomorrow carrion crows will come. They will pick through the bones and erect an altar of stone for bodies still warm and twitching. Then the dead will climb into ancient boats, find a river wide and burning.
Taylor Hamann Los holds an MLIS from UW-Milwaukee and is an MFA student at Lindenwood University. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Moist Poetry Journal, Split Rock Review, Rust + Moth, and perhappened, among others. She lives with her husband and two kittens in Wisconsin. You can find her on Twitter (@taylorhamannlos) or at taylorhamannlos.wordpress.com.