by Michael R. Fosburg

I watched over the forest children: the young ones,
the winged ones, the little ones who hid beneath rocks
and sipped dew from forest flowers;
I tended those that grew from earth to bloom,
butterfly-like, into the air.

We survived the bombs as best we could, learned
a distant drone’s portent of fire and thunder.
We moved our shelter deeper into the forest.

But they came for their mischlings in late November,
burned our books and broke the necks of fiddles
beneath polished jackboots.

When I awoke the forest was empty, silent
as a broken cathedral.
The winged ones who had attempted flight
were bullet-riddled; the glowing ones
torn from the earth; the little ones
crushed into bruised pulp

I have failed them all.

Perhaps now I can die, having told you this
(for my punishment has been
to live and to remember)
and can finally recall their morning songs
and small smiles
without weeping.


Michael Roderick Fosburg waits all year for autumn, pumpkin beer and mountains. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Star*Line, Stone Telling, Mythic Delirium, MindFlights, Bete Noire, Paper Crow, Polu Texni, Niteblade, the 2011 Rhysling Anthology and elsewhere; his poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Rhysling Award.

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