Published on Academy of American Poets (

I Pack Her Suitcase with Sticks, Light the Tinder, and Shut the Lid

She used to sit on the forest floor 
and I would cut her hair until it piled up 
onto the ground, like ash.  

Tonight, her name is a leaf covering 
my left eye. The right I close 
for the wind to stitch shut with thread 

from the dress she wore into the grave 
where the determined roots of the tree 
are making a braid around her body.


From The Lesser Fields. Copyright © 2009 by Rob Schlegel. Used with permission of The Center for Literary Publishing.


Rob Schlegel

Rob Schlegel is the author of January Machine (Four Way Books, 2014), which won the Grub Street National Book Prize in Poetry. 

Date Published: 2009-01-01

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