Into the Leaf Gloom by Halie Theoharides

I do not go back there anymore because my uncle is so bad to everyone
I didn’t want to marry so and so
I found this hut in the woods this little shed
Take me in! Take me back I mean is what I yelled to sheds
It was winter I was cold and hungry we all were
A woman lay dead on the ground
I was far from castles and very confused
I healed
Women gave birth and I took care of them
Women ran to us and children ran to us with blood and berry juice on their faces
From the town they all ran away they started to call me when they needed things
They forgot I was a Lady so I threw away my dress
I wore rags!
I started to kill things and care for children and feed them
I stood in the river and cut a deer’s throat and the blood sprayed all over
Just as a stranger was about to say no blood I sprayed blood
And the blood sprayed on my legs and I no longer felt proud
I felt sorry and angry and wild and could not fade
I wore a green cloak passed down to me by a mythic woman
I dyed all my clothes green
I fell in love with a wounded man
When he was wounded we made no promises
He was a stranger with a fever
I healed near the ocean
I was betrothed already
Betrothed to the forest
But I loved this man
With his rules about blood
That I guess were good rules but I hated learning
From this man who appeared out of nowhere to teach me
When I had been taking care of everyone all winter
And building a secret village
And sending messages through trees
And mixing potions
And amputating legs
And walking silently
I no longer recognized myself when I stood in the water
When I walked in and out of the doorway of the green shed
When I worked to build a better green shed
When I tried to make a roof and fell
When I tried to get married and leapt over a fire
I said who am I and I kept my promises
I blotted my sorrow
I danced with flowers in my hair
I found my mother in a convent

Halie Theoharides lives in Western Massachusetts and studies poetry, wildlife, and other mysteries. “Into The Leaf Gloom” was written in response to The Forestwife by Theresa Tomlinson.

Read another poem by Halie Theoharides here.