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By Jennifer Elise Foerster

My crown.

My room.

Surrounding snow.

 

These are not my

hands, my winter shoes

carried off by uncertain music.

 

There was a meadow

behind my house

and if I should see myself there

she would tell me

there was never a meadow

 

and then walk through me

as if through a cloud

and carry on in her own

solitary direction.

 

Crows still caw

in her palace garden—

tram rails, rain,

stammering moon.

 

Once lilacs bloomed

their huge white knuckles

breaking the winter of my room—

 

it was a dream—French windows

on a Viennese street.

 

Every street I cross

angling alongside

smoggy postwar artifices

 

branches scratch

against my sleep.

 

How my body was a branch

in my sleep.

 

And when I woke

years later

I peered down upon it

leafless and stiff.

 

No roosts left, no caw.

No birds blooming

in my dream’s green crooks.

 

Afternoons alone

are labyrinthine.

I wander the city, searching

for what? Friends,

we knew where to find each other,

tapping the window of the winter room.

 

We were thinner then,

younger than the chestnut trees.

 

Everything has its seed

much later

and on the other side of time.

 


Jennifer Elise Foerster, "The Other Side." Copyright © 2017 Jennifer Elise Foerster. Used by permission of the author for PoetryNow, a partnership between the Poetry Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network.

Source: PoetryNow (2017)

  • Activities
  • Living
  • Nature

Poet Bio

Jennifer Elise Foerster
Poet Jennifer Elise Foerster is of German, Dutch, and Mvskoke descent and is a member of the Mvskoke (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma. She earned a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts, an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and PhD from the University of Denver. She co-directs For Girls Becoming, an arts mentorship program for Mvskoke youth in Oklahoma and teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts low-residency MFA program. See More By This Poet

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