Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Final Issue 2018
Rob Cook


The cries of a deer crowd the forest.
We have too many uneaten life forms,
too many stones that make no progress,
too many trees whose alliances
threaten our always vigilant houses.

I feel safe because soon we will have no more
room for shadows, or unnecessary friends,
whom we never trusted, or had proof of anyway,
no matter how close they’d grown
to where the birds had charred the sky
the best among us no longer believed was there.


I teach my children how to get lost in the woods
that ends every twenty steps.
I teach my children how to not be detected
by the houses that are hungrier than the always foraging animals.
I show the children the correct way to bury
a leaf when it trembles.

But it’s not possible anymore
to use even a word without being followed.
The children retreat into cell phone utopias
so they won’t hear me
trying to remember what it was like to roam,
stalking the creek beds to exhaustion.


A tulip broils in its oven of soft dirt,
its screams marking the trees
until each leaf dampens with pain.

I am afraid of the leaves that are only noises now.
I talk about the forest as if it could be
carried from place to place,
the way my fear of light softens
the deep land with lichens and fog-hardened fawns.

About Rob Cook

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