September 2022

Back to Issue 12


By Jane Frank


A forest tumbling

into a spectral valley, 

a river cutting its way

through a landscape’s operatic grief


I walk for what seems a whole night until 

there is a clearing in my dream,

stop to consult my palms up close: read their venations. 

There are love letters rolled up in the hollows of trees

apologies from once-loves,

instructions too: give the colours names


Mist rises lethargically and I can see 

the doubtful stretch of water now — almost touch it

White spoonbills dredge weeds at the edges,

azure kingfishers and rainbow bee-eaters 

sing words sticky like honey, sweet but scared. 


Venus is vivid in a metallic sky 

where portents flash like fire.

I submerge myself in the water, 

wait for the flames to rage above,

leap across the stones from bank to bank 

and then for the forest to regrow. 


This takes time so I take a deep breath,  

swim into the future.