Beth Oast Williams

Finding Myself Lost In A Forest Myth

My cape was stop-sign red
and yet that sliver of skin between cuff
and glove must have whispered come in.

Fabric blew open, weak as curtains
closed against a forest storm. I crawled
to the edge of Grandmother’s bed

longing to store bad thoughts in her vault.
Sheets embraced the myth of swallowing
whole. Flannel fought to hide the fur.

My age was new as moss on rock
and we lay close enough to Lily Creek
to hear its melting trickle.

Bitter was the watercress, a bite
from late last May. His groan
of tell me what you like

led way downstream
to rushing eddies, cascades,
a great fall. I let the current take me

through the shoreline’s snarl
past gullies of lost leaves, their stench
raw as a wolf’s stomach cut open.

Even wet, grimace took root
and bloomed as a twisted face. Body
absorbed salt, the truth never washed off.

Beth Oast Williams                           

Beth Oast Williams’s poetry has appeared in West Texas Literary Review, Wisconsin Review, Glass Mountain, GASHER Journal, Poetry South, Fjords Review, and Rattle’s Poets Respond, among others. Her poems have been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. Her first chapbook, Riding Horses in the Harbor, was published in 2020.