15 February 2010 | Vol. 9, No. 4

Woods Shock

The wind in the beginning

meant the crying

inside the blackened lanterns

could carry a rare measure of music.

But midway

into the forest, we already heard

the stolen horses

whinnying within the ending.

The forest, of course,

was a story. The horses,

of course, slant rhymed

with loaves

because the horses were really wolves.

Yes, it was a clever disguise,

the way the riddle—or at least a way to solve

it—could be hidden

within the bread.

There were also birds

within the loaves,

love among the wolves' guts,

salve inside them

when someone guessed the riddle wrong.

We broke open the bread,

listening to the body within it.

And the body cried,

Please, burn me in effigy.

But there were still other animals

rusting within the forest:

Sparrows nested

within the flared bells

of three flugel horns.

Wolves wore sheep's wool

woven brightly on a small loom.

The sparrows chirped

warp and weft while the wolves'

woof echoed through the forest.

Beautiful nudes

asleep by a stream snatched wildly

at their hair. Dreaming of fire,

the flames contained a song

released from their heat when doused

down to cinders with milk.

It was the same fire

that once inhabited the lanterns,

a brute choir unleashed

among the trees. Can you

hear it now? Listen to

the whinnying. Listen to the sad,

sad wind breathing within it.

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About the author:

Brennen Wysong's poems are forthcoming in Copper Nickel, the Corduroy Mtn., Word For/Word, New CollAge Magazine, and Bateau Press. He has published poems in GlitterPony, Denver Quarterly, Fourteen Hills, Xantippe, and other journals. He live in New York City with his wife, Debra, and son, Calder Birch.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Brennen Wysong at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 9, No. 4, where "Woods Shock" ran on February 15, 2010. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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