Before I Relive the Traumas of My Past, I Must First Create a Safe Space Where I Can Escape, or So Says My Therapist
There is a field.
The field is full of weeds, some small jaw bones and lost
teeth, spent shells.
I have found carcasses in the field.
I have heard the sounds of the field,
and the sounds have done nothing but sound.
To the right, if I were to cross the stream—
as I have before—
there is a graveyard.
I am not to read the headstones.
I am to name my safe space,
repeat the field with wind, the field with wind—
this will help to install the field,
and then I can go when instructed.
Eventually, I will only have to think the words
to go to the field.
I am not to read the names
on the graves.
And if I did, the stones inscribed:
the field with wind, the field with wind.
I do not know the names
of the weeds, and if I do not know
the words for the weeds, then how
can the words keep me safe?
The dead are buried in the field with wind.
The bones lay barren in the field with wind.
I have wandered too far.
The forest has an opening,
and the wind opens its mouth—
the field is muted purple, hushed
gold, but there is no entering the field.
Isabelle Shepherd is a poet from West Virginia. She now lives in Wilmington, NC, where she received her MFA from UNCW. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in DIAGRAM, The Journal, Ninth Letter, Redivider, Sixth Finch, and elsewhere. More of her work and upcoming reading dates can be found on www.isabelleshepherd.com.