©2019 by Poetry Society of South Carolina. Proudly created with Wix.com

The Forum Prize

Libby Bernardin


And When the Forest of Your Bearable Life Appears

                                                                                 And when the forest of your bearable life appears
                                                                                                                                                    —Katie Ford

Rising and unfolding, like a great beast
    or mangrove, no, a bamboo grove:

thick canes you’ll need a machete
to navigate—imagine the strength you’ll need
to hack a path through mature growth, cutting
away as if each cane’s node could release
untold stories—

    Look up from your scything to wipe your brow—
    a boat idles among bald cypress,
    stacked with charts mapping the waterway,

        sun lighting an open seat—
        as if all you had to do was step aboard.