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The Silver Forest
by Mary LambertA stain lay across her right breast, moving as she breathed,
darkening rhythmically where a nipple moved against flannel
washed beyond endurance.
Stone fingers lay on muslin, shiny from assiduous washings.
Ice stings the window, working the geometry of Spanish fans.
Her pain grimaces. Small hairs move. A blue vein throbs
Yellowed floorboards reflect a dim fire burning in a grate,
Beyond the window, land slopes under a fence toward a
A fox sits at the scrim, tail wrapped close, appearing at-one
Inside, the woman turns her face to the window. Waxen lids
A dream comes. She divides herself from herself. Pushing
As she nears the scrim, her gnarled past shows itself. She
Three dead babies, two boys and a tiny girl float by; and
That arid desert in mid-life, dry as mummy's dust.
Water came. Ethan. All that life! And death.
Spirit firmed after that. Tough. Alive. Better for
Another baby then. This one a soul mate. No one
That child grown and traveling the world. More than
Found in midwinter gazing at a cardinal atop a
And the fox! Red too, balancing the cardinal--
They knew! And she knew they knew! Those lovely
Now gone too--but yet, not gone. Their vital gift an
Something on her right. Again. Only snow blowing
Her center glowed. They drank their sameness.
Inside, rituals. Family. Doctor. And the flower of
The room is bright from the whiteness outside. The
Her center quickens.