BY LAUREN SANDERSON
Runner-Up for the 2018 Adroit Prize for Poetry
Selected by Alex Dimitrov
It was after the harvest. It was before
the first frost. Everything living had
something dead to thank. Bloody
November, season of beasts. The boys
sneak off to the forest, smoke anything,
sharpen their teeth on bedrock. We know
nothing, say nothing. Whittle down
to our whites at the mouth of the river.
We open our legs. The first frost.
Everything living is dying. White
November. The mouth of the boys
& whatever crawls out. We know
to say nothing, whittle down, open
the legs of the river. If a girl screams
in the forest & no one’s around to hear,
did the tree fall? Do we make a sound?
Everything living is dying. White,
merciless beasts. The boys sneak off,
a few hours. Bone against bedrock.
We wait by the river, open our mouths,
whittle our tongues. A girl screams
& the trees fall. Everything dying.
We know the sound. When the boys
crawl out of the forest dangling dead
things from their teeth they scream
at the river. No one’s around.