The Forest | Teen Ink

The Forest

October 15, 2021
By mickmellan BRONZE, Deep Gap, North Carolina
mickmellan BRONZE, Deep Gap, North Carolina
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

This poem is a eulogy

My dirge is a wind strewn scream

In my mind, there is a forest

With jailbirds singing in the trees



The trunks were vast

And unadorned; the air

Was un-inhaled. No trees

Were slaughtered and

Turned to coffins, for

There were no hopes to burn.

Rain fell, as joy falls

From heaven to glistening eyes

Of leaves and weeds and

Soil, of no ash, and unbloodied.

Sound was static

And overlooked. No sight of

Thought, the agony;

No echoes of "I love you"—"Break me free"


Just a wood, an empty tomb.



She saw him. The back of his neck 

Was an augury 

Of love, or other deadwood.

Her silence grew a thorn,

Scratching her, when she remembered 

His hair, his jaw, his jeans—she

Ripped apart the dirt

And planted them there, to breed.

"I want you more each time I leave,"

She sobbed out to the wretched


No one listens but for the

Hatching bird—a swallow born 

Inside a foramen

Crying into a virgin world:

"I want you."



I knew her when she emerged as,

From the shadows, a red

Silhouette: "I hate the way you exist"

She screeched, pinching 

My disquiet into vines.

Strangle me, I beg of you.

Swallow more words to

Trap inside this ribcage. 

Hear the trills of jailbirds ringing

On fresh dawns of complacency. 

"Break me free" they scratch into

The bark; but I waver at

The ecotone, mum. 

Mum. I'm seeing prisoners, 

Red and bloodied, howling

At the unrelenting 

Rain. I hate the way it rains—

The weeds seem to eat it up

And multiply, and the shadows

Seem to reel me in.



"Come to me" the banshees

Moan, she moans, and they 

All moan. Burning eyes flare in

The darkness, dancing

Under the amorous moon

Like poltergeists.

Their lips twist "I want you" 

In my voice, wild from suppression.

She watches him, they cry, 

She watches. 

She watches him, they cry—

Echoes grow

Louder on the wind—the confessions

Sealed beneath the canopy

Erupting, like his mother did

When she saw him in his bed.



The specters whisper "I love you"

Shakily, and wise in the workings 

Of winter. I stand in a

Chapel of wood: I would

Have, had I known—I 

Console the fallen leaves. She 

Would have, had she heard

Over the din—she insists

On her knees.

The gravel cuts like thorns; I

Grip it in my hands, like

Ground is his hair and

Last rites are our vows.

His mother didn't invite me

To my wedding, it seems.

I want to see him, but 

The bride must take her time—but

The trees have grown dry 

And blackened—but

Only the ghosts are white.



His coffin is of knotted wood.

The birds sing dirges —for 

Him or me?—for I am 

Many ghosts; we share 

The same defeated air. 

The flames dissolve them,

Like they were nothing. 

I might be dead, he might be 

The cremating apparition, this might be a 


I see it, destined for

The kiss of death or life;

I part my lips and lie in wait,

In the spring, for winter—as

The forest hums with rain.

The author's comments:

My poem "The Forest" is about a forest in your mind, filled with the words you never said. This idea is exemplified in unrequited, unconfessed love. Stymied by her fear, the narrator in the poem never reveals her emotions or even talks to the object of her affections. With his death and cremation, so too is her reality incinerated.

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This article has 1 comment.

Lydiaq ELITE said...
on Oct. 20 2021 at 9:44 am
Lydiaq ELITE, Somonauk, Illinois
147 articles 41 photos 1014 comments

Favorite Quote:
The universe must be a teenage girl. So much darkness, so many stars.

You are fantastic! This is the best thing I've ever seen on this website!!!