Black Walnut Dye
I was a disappointment to my father.
I saw the reckless shelves of autumn’s pantry
flushed with Copstard and Queene, and he
didn’t see the trees, or me.
with mother making lists of birds,
my Redwork scrapbook
stocked with the forest’s calling cards
she bundles black walnuts in a shawl
splits the hull, raises yarn from the pot
to sell at Laurel Grange.
And who stitched you, the women ask.
oftentimes when we walk Ravenswood
through pine and oak and past the boulder fields,
towards where the Hermit of Gloucester’s cabin
my mother stops,
lays her ear to the ground
and listens to the conversation of mushrooms.
I ask her what she hears
in the tiny threads
of language that tie the forest together,
and she says someone is asking a neighbor
for a cup of sugar.
When Chloe liked Olivia
They fled households stitched together
And stole barrettes and powder horns from CVS.
The quiet ones are the worst
Their teachers said
The quiet ones
Who dream of fossils washed ashore,
Who ramble with their monster
They fled blankets pulled too tight
And buttons grasped too high
To traipse in clart and clabber.
It’s alright they said, alright
Our bones and limbs
Our hearts like acorns quicken
On the monster’s tousy-mousy roof.