We didn’t say what we knew—
didn’t tell them that they didn’t
own their choices, that they were
as dead in their skins as the rest of us,
their surfaces too like
autumn’s Amanita Muscaria—
so pretty so tempting so necessary—
that sitting right down on the moss
circling, chartreuse, among the spruces
seemed just right. Yes, we wished
to be there, where zero burst from
beneath green to golden enticement.
Rain only made us want it more.
Why would we mention this
to the children, those boys and girls
who opened their mouths at us?
No. We only said to them
Good morning. Don’t go into the forest.
Stay out of the darkness. Love light.
Bertha Rogers is a poet, translator, and visual artist who lives on a mountain in the western Catskills of New York. Her poems have been published in literary magazines and anthologies and in several collections, among them Wild, Again (Salmon Poetry, 2019), Heart Turned Back (Salmon Poetry, 2010), and Sleeper, You Wake (Mellen, 1991). Her translation and illuminations of the 95 riddle-poems in the Anglo-Saxon Exeter book were published as Uncommon Creatures (Six Swans Artist Editions, 2019).