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Terence Winch

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

March 06, 2020

July 11, 2019

June 16, 2019

May 31, 2019

March 21, 2019

January 24, 2019

November 11, 2018

September 05, 2018

August 19, 2018

May 13, 2018

April 14, 2018

March 08, 2018

February 13, 2018

October 22, 2017

October 16, 2017

September 08, 2017

August 15, 2017

March 18, 2017

March 17, 2017

June 19, 2016

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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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