Not Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening

I

“Promises to keep,” was a lie, he had nothing. Through

the woods. Over the river and into the pain. It is an addict’s

talk of quitting as she’s smacking at a vein. He was always

going into the woods. It was he who wrote, “The only way

 

around is through.” You’d think a shrink, but no, a poet.

He saw the woods and knew. The forest is the one that holds

promises. The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, they fill

with a quiet snow. Miles are traveled as we sleep. He steers

 

his horse off the road. Among the trees now, the blizzard

is a dusting. Holes in the canopy make columns of snowstorm,

lit from above. His little horse thinks it is queer. They go

deeper, sky gets darker. It’s the darkest night of the year.

 

 

II

He had no promises to keep, nothing pending. Had no bed

to head to, measurably away in miles. He was a freak like me,

monster of the dawn. Whose woods these are I think I know,

his house is in the village though. In the middle of life

 

he found himself lost in a dark woods. I discovered myself

in a somber forest. In between my breasts and breaths I got

lost. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I’ve got promises

to keep, smiles to go before I leap. I’m going into the woods.

 

They’re lovely dark, and deep, which is what I want, deep lovely darkness.

No one has asked, let alone taken, a promise of me,

no one will notice if I choose bed or rug, couch or forest deep.

It doesn’t matter where I sleep. It doesn’t matter where I sleep.

 

 

Jennifer Michael Hecht is the author of three history books and two volumes of poetry. Her most recent book is The Happiness Myth.

 

 

Issue #25 July 2013
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