David Crews


From The Southeast Review Volume 30.1

It was around the time I found the little girl,
and then started having dreams of my mother.

When we fought she sometimes came to my bed,
tried to apologize, as I stared at the dark beige wall

pretending to sleep. It felt like a thousand severed trees
piled onto a frail body, branches scratching eyes.

And since I could not escape the girl, or the dreams,
I went to the trees. Beyond that house,

far from any street, a dense, dark wood stretched
into the distance though to this day

I see my mother, and the still body of that little girl
in the blue dress, her body

resting and still on the damp leaves. Perhaps you
don’t have the servitude to hurt those closest to you

but that night I left her body in the forest.
There are a thousand reasons to say I’m sorry or,

I love you, one
that holds open my eyes until the dark no longer hides

objects in this room: the dresser a coffi n, curtains
some person staring the back of my sleepless face

who visits on nights like my mother would,
and how I want to jump from under the covers,

scream until tears stream down my face, scream
about the little girl’s body beyond the house

and how I still fear love because and how
I didn’t always pretend to sleep,

though many times I did and sometimes
it was only by accident. To do it all again,

I would take my mother’s hand, show her
the path through the trees and the dirt-bulged earth

now windswept with leaves, and would promise
that one day when her own body is placed into the earth

I will shovel the dirt myself,
as if it were hers, and I will put my hands in the dirt,

smell the things I could never say, and from this moment
forward, footsteps, whispers in the dark,

I will listen for her.        

David Crews has poems published or forthcoming in The Greensboro Review, Paterson Literary Review, Tar River Poetry, The Carolina Quarterly, The New Guard, and others. Nonfiction can be found in The Adirondack Review and SPECTRUM. (davidcrewspoetry.com)