Saturday, December 28, 2013 Akethan's review of The Schoolgirl's Atlas (New Women's Voices... Akethan's review of The Schoolgirl's Atlas (New Women's Voices...:

"The world on paper..." - I first encountered Morris's poetry in the Gay & Lesbian Review. It featured her poem "Cliffside" and I wanted to read more of her poetry. While that poem is not in this colle
ction - this collection is filled to the brim with very personal and trusting moments that I enjoyed. Morris's directness and honesty in her style is what hooked me. Right from the opener: "Desire became a country where I lived," Morris invited me in to her journey. Sparks of individuality are paired with shared experiences: "for everything is almost about to happen", "I left the ocean for you", "The list is the affliction / My foremothers brought out of Egypt" and -

"Don't toy with it/
It is the work of decades
In a bowl."

I have re-read this chapbook several times over the last two weeks. I want to pass this along to a friend - so another is going in today's cart for order.

Poem: 1081, The Wood, and Goodbye (ef)

Through the back window
come the backyard
across its spanse
come the wood
and in the back
of my mind
was the knowing
that I should
get my coat, my scarf, my gloves
and walk there,
run there
this above –
for this may be the last time –
it’s been that way before…
where first Gina & I ran,
and took it all so fast
when stung back by the nettles
we wandered into by accident,
that was among the last.
And where in a later Summer
we went wild
and in the wood went deep
took to hunt its very spirit,
all the magic we could keep
and worked well
and worked true
what Gina & I couldn’t do –
that was among the last.
And when Grandma Fenner passed away –
we wouldn’t go
so at Grandma Betty’s we stayed –
and ran out into the woods
to find the right trees
and loose our dreams again.
Where once I saw a deer or two
and heard dogs and other noises,
here now I see the snow
and wait –
when next I came it was
mom & I alone…
and Great Grandma Detty’s funeral…
I wandered through the
wood for hours and
kicked up leaves
and cried for all the silly things
in my silly life
that had died
and all the stupid confusion
I sometimes feel inside…
that still sometimes comes to pass,
that feeling
that I have not felt for the last –
for as I stand here staring,
through the back window
comes the backyard
across its whiteness –
the wood stares back.
It looks so tiny
in Winter,
in adulthood.
No reason to ride on uncle’s shoulders
above the nettles & vines…
no need to run with sisters
in case one gets lost
though I feel it’s true
these things would be nice.
I stare out at the wood
and it’s been put up for sale:
the wood, the yard, the house –
that I should
grab my coat and fly there
and let those lonely limbs
take me in again
but I make excuses
too tired, too cold, the wind –
that was among the last…
so lost, so cold, confused –
I press against the glass –
and promise
the weeping wood
to remember
what I won’t forget…
their names –
I whisper them softly,
“…Mother Tree, Fallen Bridge, and
          the Field…”
I wave to them weakly –
for this may be the last time.

12.25.93 / eaf