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Elegy for the Wood Nymphs

By Goran Lowie in Issue Twelve, December 2023

it starts with screams in summer.
there have been signs beforehand—
the trees have started to refuse the rain.
the sky did not submit and coated the trees,
unceasing, in layers of water.
water sits on the ground with open mouth,
waiting to be taken by the tongues of animals,
but even they refuse. the rain has stopped,
and the bellies of the clouds remain filled.
in the echoes of twilight,
the nymphs of palm and Brazil nut trees
relinquish their duties and go on strike.
their hairs are nests of burning twigs.
in the fear-frosted nights, unmaking is easier than making:
centuries of suckered restraint finally bursting
as they let go of that astonishing weight
bending the willow of their neck.
their inconsolable hunt is at an end.
it does not take long before the Amazon is covered with ashes.
the blistered bodies of broken nymphs litter the forgotten nymphs
(traces of death by violence)
who slowly become part of the soil.
dead things live in charred lumber
and sense only memories.
the ash will make more life, in time—
but not nymphs.
never again nymphs.
they have dreamed long and true
in the stretch of winter,
and now their essence flies skyward,
at last trading their tongues for silent sisters,
the last trace of their deep green irises
irretrievably lost
from their forsaken earth.

© 2023 Goran Lowie

Goran Lowie

Goran Lowie is an award-winning aro/ace poet from rural Belgium with poems in Strange Horizons, Heartlines Spec, Radon Journal and others. He writes poetry in his second language and is a high school teacher in his day job. You can follow him on Twitter @goranlowie.

Poetry by Goran Lowie
  • Elegy for the Wood Nymphs