David Ryan Palmer


Lost in the Woods

I can see why ritual grasps
like an old man holding a map,
lost in the woods.

I opened all my windows today,
let the light and the air in.
The husk of me
needed to dry out
that I could crack and fall.

By opening the blinds
I stood in the light,
watched the wind press on trees,
ask them to move
in a dance older than plaster
walls with melted sand.

I chased that feeling,
an old man lost in the woods,
and when it escaped I stopped
to take stock, and checked the map,
yet the map was not filled in.

I was deep in the woods,
where the light falls
as spears between serrated leaves.
Between the trees I caught a glimpse,
as the sun crashed,
as the dusk approached,
as my skin responded in frisson.

A tarrasque of the ancient order,
leaf cutter mouth with a love’s hair,
sixty eyes of glitter and spite,
house sized, six legs, adamantine teeth,
painted nails.

And yet it recoiled from this old man
with a faulty map,
so I left, and wish to return every day.

The windows let in light and air.
I saw it in my distance.
For now I’ll keep watching,
open my blinds and watch
the trees shuffle, in the same way,
for as long as I can.


* The tarrasque (two r’s) is a legendary monster, one of a kind, in Dungeons and Dragons. It is based on the French legend of the tarasque. Legend has that Saint Martha tamed the tarasque and a fearful town in southern France killed it.



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David Ryan Palmer (they/them) is an amateur cook, poet, and graduate student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. They have been lucky to have been published in Rising Phoenix Review and Adelaide.