04 May 2014

The Forest of Sure Things

                                by Megan Snyder-Camp


In two days the rat swam 400 meters
to the other island, also empty, in search of another rat. The scientists
who had been following the rat
grew desperate as the weeks passed
and the peanut butter went stale.
No song from the radio collar.
Their wives wanted a vacation.
It was summer; the bee-bitten lilacs
turn in, some as-yet-unnamed tree
parted a soft slab of rock. They sent another rat out.
And another.


The oranges were the first to arrive,
bobbing along the coast like subtitles.
Everything seemed ot carry another name.
Look at me, our mother said. Our lunch
a sacrifice, our hair a knotted map.
The youngest of us watched
his orange peel float out in the lake. The oldest
kept a tally of every shadow
creeping from barn to tree. Each seam,
each bud called out. From the earth
or the sea the next saint would rise.
The middle child carried with her
a scrap of wallpaper from the old dollhouse
and held it up against the shifting sky.


The casseroles just showed up.
According to her sister a symbolic casting

of the feminine, not gender but physics, dear --
according to a friend she looked

just like her sister, green bathrobe mid-afternoon,
suitcase still in the trunk.

She'd carried him dead for days.
Out above the reeds a sphere of birds

stretches and knots, rises as one
brown then belly-white. Oh the hunger

when it came filled every chair.

From The Forest of Sure Things, Poems by Megan Snyder-Camp (2010).

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