The Student Literary Journal of Vermont State University

Write happy

There’s a suspicious lack of happy in my poems
“suspicious” here means “glaring”
                        here means “ misleading”
I’m not unhappy; how could anybody be
            winter’s bite reminding you to breathe,
            four paws on your lap, REM cycle
            aligning to the Eagles’ Desperado
            I’m not unhappy (right?)
            it just feels like something’s       missing, sometimes,
                        but that’s not unhappy; that’s being alive
                        long enough to lack something (right?)
                      feels like the voices aren’t my own      sometimes,
                               like the rain won’t            stop —
                                    but rain was painted gray long
                                    before I knew it was;
Try to write happy
            (ink in the pen like cracked
            lips, a dictionary full of empty,
            headstone with nothing to say)
                        (see, there I go again);
I’ve known happy,
            more    acquaintances              than     lovers
                                    but that’s fine, right?
                                    this is what life is, right?
                                    everyone feels this, right?


Budding lime green carpet covering winter’s bloodstains
Ice-carved earth kissed by marigolds and wild pinks
Wind rippling the river
Winter just a story
            a nasty bedtime story carried by the gossiping hornets
            and pressed into short-stack hoof prints
            cold boogeyman clinging to the dead leaves
            still clinging to the resurrecting bark
Here is where we met
Far corners of a crumpled
paper kissing while
the whole page turned
A lot of movement, and
things that move a lot
don’t tend to stay
The river crawls slowly but still crawls
inches —
            vines reestablishing their grips
            around the oaks’ necks
Brand new wings snapped in webs
Green gone brown in the sun’s oppression
and the dirt cakes back to safety
            the river doesn’t share
Rattlesnake fingers snare
like rabbit in a talon prison
House ablaze – a light in which the moths
            dance and the
            venison cooks
The river crawls and the wind
            whispers into it of gold and
            auburn tapestries, dead
            mosquitos and bonfires
The river crawls and we crawl with it