Issue No. 4, Spring 2013

Your Back to the Forest
Susan Rooke

All day and through the falling
silver dusk, fog steals across
the yard, which grows cryptically
as perception shrinks. Out in it

all at once you find yourself,
imagining you heard the smooth
white pebbles of your name dropped
into the mist. Water wrung

from the wet sky begins to patter,
taps you on your shoulders, your head.
The tree trunks are honeyed
with drizzle, scaled and slick

as chicken legs, like the dark piers
of Baba Yaga’s hut, which is certain
to be dancing in the canopy above.
The lips of archetype moisten, whisper

in your ears the tale of these woods,
coaxing you forward, while fog shrouds
the path behind. Ahead you see
the dripping windows of a cottage

you never knew was there, a flick
of shadow across the panes. Was that
a face just drawn back from sight?
Or was it breath condensed, a word

murmured behind the glass? It’s then
you realize you hear your house
behind you, urgent, muttering
instructions for your safe return.

Your back to the forest! Your face to me!


Susan Rooke is a Pushcart-nominated writer living in Austin, Texas. Her work has appeared recently or is forthcoming on Austin Capital Metro buses, as well as in Poemeleon, Solo Novo, Pulse: voices from the heart of medicine, and San Pedro River Review. She has completed the first novel of her fantasy series, The Space Between, and is at work on the second. She has resolved to finally secure her own website in 2013.