Out of the Woods
On the way to water, I think, low moan, heat too deep for me to reach. A new noise from a vent in the paper palace. Before, I bounce off brick wall, begging for a change; the door swings open and unhinges me to the nail. I heard ssssSMH behind me; you not ready. As it turns out, ticks, like cops, have a taste for black blood. The mosquitos made a meal of me for weeks—their walking Slurpee. One stuck his straw in my third eye. I spell him struck blind. My friends compile lists of things they never knew, read me for filth. I say in every language, I don’t have the answers. They don’t believe me. I stop buying tickets to the shit show, but no matter the distance, the smell is pervasive. In the woods, I learned baby wolves get high from the scent of hearts bursting on their Instagram feeds. Serotonin is a helluva drug. In the clearing, I strain to hear the echoes of men whose bodies drag the forest floor. Unfortunately, all the witnesses withered seventy winters ago. Blood is a potent fertilizer.
Copyright © 2018 by Krista Franklin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 2, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“‘Out of the Woods’ is a poem that emerged from recent experiences on a research trip to the island of Martinique and teaching in the woods of Saugatuck, Michigan. Playing on the literal and metaphorical meanings of being ‘in the woods’ and ‘out of the woods,’ the poem is a stream-of-consciousness meditation on the paranoia birthed from the history of racially-motivated violence in idyllic settings, my desire to escape urban and digital life, and the fragility of feeling safe in any landscape.”
Krista Franklin’s most recent poetry collection is Study of Love & Black Body (Willow Books, 2012).
Date Published: 2018-10-02
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/out-woods