Germany, 1922

blue-green lake of the bristle trees
knock-kneed, knead the sour flat dough
go to the town, the winter dry cotton
of the houses, all low-cow slash the fields
mild the withering leather-lip winter
weather lingering in the light-sawn limbo
between house and blue watercolor
forest wash

there is someone in the house

footprints in the snow from the witch woods
to the back door,
coming but not going
low-cow frozen to the salt-lick

there is someone in the house

footsteps in the airy attic at night
the frostbite winter howling in the cracks
someone in the attic
new newspaper on the table no one bought
at the blue outpost store
door bolted black against the midnight mauve,
the stove amber, the clamber coals surging
the man of the house half-asleep
when the boards creak

there is someone in the house

someone come from the deep pine cushion
of the fur forest,
the howling mauling fall of the nestle-blue needles
come my lovely daughter away
from the wishbone window
and come away to bed
bled all through the cracks,
the whip whisk winter
there is someone in the house, husband
someone come away come from the window

come to the barn

the yarn and yowl of the jackals on the farm
the sleepy scream of the cows in crying crime
peep through the thick window grime
and see a light in the loft
the empty rot loft full of softest light
go into the night and see please
please be the least hungry beast
in the burrow winter wood
please come and see

he goes and never comes back
from the leather-lip barking black
back to back they go
and none come fumbling back
the girl is the last to go
blubbering to the yawning barn
the girl does not come back
but lies in the rot straw until dawn
stricken, dripping dried blood
from her farm-tool wounds
and tearing out dandelion tufts
of scarecrow hair

there is someone in that house
with the baby and the maid
made hollow and wan
someone’s rough hand
that stoked the amber stove
and fed those low-cows corn
come Tuesday morn the house is empty
bleeding blue-green lake of bristle-tree breeze
covered in cunning needles
pleading for a kinder beating
gone fleeting into the freezing
fingernail sickle of the forest
linger poor winter
spearmint in the lung
unsung, those kindling bones
the winter winding home


Hinterkaifeck, Germany, 1922


Jesslyn Watson is a current student at The Ohio State University, pursuing a degree in French and creative writing. Her poetry has also appeared in Collision Literary Magazine.

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