Back to Issue Twenty-Seven.



Tossed, somehow, into the morning
like the fistful of pebbles I once threw
from the edge of a blue ridge

and out into the miniature valley
below, where forests encircled tiny
white houses like troops surrounding

a defeated enemy, and rivers cut
through Brueghel-green fields
like open wounds in the bright fall

of Virginia sunlight, and the hawks swam
through the ocean of air three thousand feet
above the valley floor below,

and that same air swelled and rippled
like the water it was not, and yet
also like the water it was, yes, tossed

somehow like that, I went out, again,
in search of a sign: I laced up my battered
running shoes, and set out, slowly,

into the still-yawning morning.
I passed through winding lanes
of city traffic and the endless grey chatter

of sidewalks, until, sweating, I entered
the forest, and allowed it to swallow me
whole, like a sacrifice or a dry log tossed

into the fire. At first, all was dazzle
and sunlight. The morning light showering
through the translucent veins

of turning leaves, and turning them,
in turn, to beaming golden jewelry.
A rabbit flitted across my path like a shadow.

But as I ran I ran toward the center
of the forest, down curving trails
in heavy shade, until the light drained out

slowly. It was as if each step I took took me
further away from the bright morning,
and deeper into some terrible unspeakable

mystery, which lay hidden in the dark heart
of the forest, where the leaves and trees
and wooded walls conspire against light itself,

so that, even on that clear October morning,
the darkness wrapped around me
like a secret whispered into the night.

Will Brewbaker was born & raised in Alabama. He is currently a second-year MFA student at the University of Michigan.


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