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Summer/Fall 2002

Poetry by Aubrey Ryan

Little Red Studies Daphne in the Wood

what thick skin you have.
Better than a red cloak any day
if you’ll forgive me,
can you feel anything through that layer? Can you feel
            these woods that pull like tides
toward potent damp and fur and call like sirens to just
into the trees?

You ran much faster than I.
I never got so far as the door
before that heated roughness took hold and I tell you—
in that first crashing instant,
I would have given my grandmother
for branches
like yours.

But, Mama only tells tales of flashing eyes and
            needle teeth. Mama only tells of claws.
I never knew how it feels
to be swallowed. To be drawn down
into dark beast-bellies where a new path forms
and your flesh is exposed
            and tender and yielding.
Where you would never scream a shrill wish
for protection.

Where you would never cry for roots.




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