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Black Walnut Dye; Mycelium; When Chloe liked Olivia by Damon Hubbs

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.

Milling about—

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

once stood

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

Without blushing.

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

Flow widdershins,

Our hearts like acorns quicken

On the monster’s tousy-mousy roof.

1 Comment

Bill Garvey
Bill Garvey
Dec 07, 2023

Three beautiful poems

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