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Melissa Crowe

But Nothing Bad Ever Happened to Me in the Woods

where there were never any men just cousins

and dogs and rubber dolls and birdchatter

and razor-cut light and trails of scat I could

subject to scansion figure out whose feet

I followed through leaf litter rabbits rabbits

deer never any bears but always thick as musk

the promise of bears who kept their distance

our hollering having preceded us

to the blackberry patch where we stained our

thieving mouths our bellies our hands because

we could because we could not help it

where once we built a plywood boat

rough platform set upon a row of tires

so we wobbled the deck when we walked it

like the sea might roll beneath sailors in a storm

might toss unwatched children to their deaths

danger we welcomed we made and so constrained

where in winter we skated skateless through

an ice-slicked clearing no fathoms beneath

and where in warmer months we waded

the creek its surface delicately pocked

by legs of water bugs its cold music on bare

skin a good surprise where the plot

never sickened and when late afternoon began

its early forest darkening we’d find our way slowly

and adroitly back to neighborhood and day

but first we built floorplans of pine straw

grids of little rooms in which we pretended eating

from the broadleaf plates we heaped with weeds

and cones and seeds as though to sup were

up to children simple as to chat or sing an airy

consequenceless thing feat we could do here

or maybe—easy as to drink or fight—anywhere.

CroweHeadshot - Melissa Crowe.jpg



Melissa Crowe is the author of Dear Terror, Dear Splendor (University of Wisconsin Press, 2019). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Four Way Review, New England Review, Poetry Northwest, and Thrush, among other journals. She coordinates the MFA program at UNCW, where she teaches poetry and publishing.

Bear Review


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