First Permission

Mary Wilson

It would be best to write something new, full
of characters, and to see them in a world

made not of their making, but its own and take out all
the diction, so the world emerges as
an image of the world not of their making,

but rather nouns for things as such for things
as catalogues and hats and stacks of binding,

frayed as in foliage when the leaf hits down on asphalt
or the skim pond filtered of its thick in fall.

I walked along that path last autumn
when it was no longer path,

and just last night I dreamed that someone
took down the entire forest, meaning

all the trees, except a few
to grace parameters of lawn, so it
was not a path then either.

And so the world emerges as
a forest scraped from map.

I think these characters
that hide behind their actions, and I think
they haunt me or perhaps I them.

They move invisible about the lawns whose houses
come in white, gray
and the subdued tones of plant life.

Inhabitants whose secret builds with every gesture,
leveling the hill until the orange

crests through absent trunks of absent trees,
trees as seen across the lawn’s parameters
which anyone can guess at.

Mary Wilson earned her MFA in Poetry from Brown University and is working towards a PhD in English at the University of California, Berkeley. Her poems have appeared in Everyday Genius, Gobbet, Sun’s Skeleton, and (occasionally) her blog: