She is again lost in the Forest of Loneliness
hoping to find her way out, knowing that whichever path she takes
will eventually wind back here where she started.
She imagines herself a Gretel abandoned by her brother.
Before that, abandoned by their father, both following
a trail of bread crumbs leading nowhere.
Self-pity tears wear down rock. A dry creek bed becomes
the unforgiving net to catch her when she falls. Her head
is stone. Her heart is weary.
“She shouts a rallying cry. “I can do it alone! Jack was not the only
Giant Killer!” She has confused her fairy tales. But the point is,
our heroine desires to remain autonomous, no matter how lonely.
Secretly, she wonders, how many monsters must I slay,
how many feats of daring, courage and honesty must I perform,
how many trials must I suffer to win the hand of True Love?
Is there a happily ever after, a destination beyond this
forest of bare limbed trees, actually within her reach?
Or is it all nonsensical words carved silent tree bark,
or cold surfaces of stone, one woman’s voice echoing back
from within the huge cavern of being misunderstood?
Robin Michel is a writer, poet and teacher whose work can be found in Bird’s Thumb, New Guard, Rappahannock Review, San Pedro River Review, Cowboys & Cocktails, Poetry from the True Grit Saloon and elsewhere. She lives in San Francisco and often reads student poetry to her husband while he feeds their worm compost — both she and he, and all the red wigglers dreaming of faraway places.