In the Sticks

We slip along the slick path, across the hill's jawline.
Snow salts the bitter terrace. The walk wears us.

The trail finds narrow hinges to hoard.
In the gorge, uncaring creatures lie in wait.


Birds dangle like leaves, feather out
under wing.

Together we float a fine net of veins, dredge our insides
for sawflies.

Then we scent each other's folds.

We learn to puncture empty pockets.
Skeletonize the surface.

Such filthy sweet blood,
I have to wear gloves.


On this great washed ground, you're bitten
into square lace. Your bones have to be accounted
for. Counted and re-buried.

I ask for a river. Paddle to the underworld
and back. In the hull, some ghost
roosts in a web of dried foam.


Falling to the hills, some birds die.
Fried in the greasy sunrise.

Some hundred miles to go, and the trees
want to speak.
But no tongues, no teeth.

Colleen Coyne is the author of the chapbook Girls Mistaken for Ghosts (dancing girl press, 2015), and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Hayden's Ferry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Cream City Review, So to Speak, Tupelo Quarterly, New Delta Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches writing and works as a freelance writer and editor.

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761