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Amy Gerstler: Pick of the Week [ed. Terence Winch]

Amy Gerstler photo



















Lost in the Forest


I'd given up hope. Hadn't eaten in three

days. Resigned to being wolf meat...

when, unbelievably, I found myself  in

a clearing. Two goats with bells

round their necks stared at me:

their pupils like coin slots

in piggy banks. I could have gotten

the truth out of those two,

if goats spoke. I saw leeks

and radishes planted in rows;

wash billowing on a clothesline...

and the innocuous-looking cottage

in the woods with its lapping tongue

of a welcome mat slurped me in.


In the kitchen, a woman so old her sex

is barely discernible pours a glass

of fraudulent milk. I'm so hungry

my hand shakes. But what is this liquid?

"Drink up, sweetheart," she says,

and as I wipe the white mustache

off with the back of my hand:

"Atta girl." Have I stumbled

into the clutches of St. Somebody?

Who can tell. "You'll find I prevail here

in my own little kingdom," she says as

she leads me upstairs--her bony grip

on my arm a proclamation of ownership,

as though I've always been hers.


Amy Gerstler is a writer living in Los Angeles. Index of Women, a book of her poems, will be published in April by Penguin Random House. She is currently collaborating with Steve Gunderson on a musical play. 


Lost in the woods

January 15, 2021

January 13, 2021

January 11, 2021

January 10, 2021

January 08, 2021

January 06, 2021

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January 02, 2021

January 01, 2021

December 31, 2020

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December 23, 2020

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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