Self-Portrait as Dryad, No. 7
The golden haze around these whips of limbs
Is glistening, awakening to light
Within retreating clouds — embattled fire
That melts the snow and pellmell sends the sky
To run in ditches near the highway’s edge.
My God, I am no witch to suffer so —
Who tied me to this stake that frosts my skin?
Who makes me tremble with his solar heat?
Who takes my voice and shakes the syllables
Until I speak in otherworldly tongues?
Dear Christ, the world is aching in its grave,
And can I bear another spring-time thaw?
O Willow, Willow, I uncurl to let
The bite and simmer of this raking gold
Explode in leaves — green eyes that weep for me,
My harrowed hell, my star-enkindled tree.
Marly Youmans (website, blog) recently saw the publication of her seventh book, Val/Orson. Set among the tree sitters of California’s redwoods, the story takes its inspiration from the legendary tale of Valentine and Orson and the forest romances of Shakespeare. Her previous books include Ingledove; Claire; The Curse of the Raven Mocker; The Wolf Pit; Catherwood; and Little Jordan. She co-edited qarrtsiluni’s Insecta issue with Ivy Alvarez.