The 2River View 28.4 (Summer 2024)

Ellen June Wright

The darkest evening of the year

       (after Robert Frost)

Days before merrymaking, I am at my lowest.
       Light’s an ever fleeting thing I want to chase.

It will be months before the sun
       is strong enough to animate

before green knots appear on tree branches
       outside my window and cherry blossoms bloom.

The darkest evening of the year,
       a gathering of shadows.

So many will not see it through.
       Laughter and wine mean nothing to them

as gray descends and lethargy sets in.
       The bear-like parts of us need to find a cave

and live off of what we have stored under
       our skin. Then emerge with the return of birds

and the scent of honey after the buzz of bees.


The woods are lovely, dark and deep c. 1969

       (after Robert Frost)

Woods across from our rented house
really just a vacant lot or public land

as children we would run into it
pretend to be lost

young feet crunching leaves, arms
and hands pushing past saplings.

To this day that lot is vacant,
the only remnant of a forest left

on Forest Avenue.
Imagination made it acres.

Every child needs a mystery
to explore the ideas of fear and adventure.

She must ask herself at six or seven—
What am I made of?

Now old enough to cross the street alone,
let me go into the woods and find out.

Let me close my eyes and spin myself and see
if I can find my way back home.

Hope there’s nothing in the woods with me—
no wild dogs, no wolves.

Ellen June Wright is an American poet with British and Caribbean roots. Her work has been published in journals such as North American Review, Missouri Review, Plume, Tar River, and Verse Daily. She’s a Cave Canem and Hurston/Wright alumna. website
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