Cecily Parks

Cecily Parks is the author of the chapbook Cold Work (Poetry Society of America, 2005) and the collection Field Folly Snow (University of Georgia Press, 2008). She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is at work on a second collection, O'nights.

Post Pastoral

I borrowed an axe
so heavy I had to drag it
through the woods.

Branches couldn’t catch
the geese or the sliding sun
and the mud-streaked axe blade

and my mud-streaked dress
took on a violet sheen.
I would build a house

to be lonely in. Across
the pond a train grated
through trees. From the woods

came the voice of fox paws
in leaves. From the air
an owl voice pleading

with the moon.
I asked the trees for boards,
shingles, laths

before I swung the axe
to split a birch.
I only nicked it.

I would own the forest.
The tree began to weep.
I licked what it wept.

Hesperis matronalis

A dandelion gleams
in the grass. I could smear it
against my neck

and brighten my throat.
I could sour my mouth
eating its jagged leaves, suck

the meat off sparrow bones
if I knew how to trap a bird
and open it.


Some nights I beg the moon
to swerve and hit me.
I think it would feel

like a blessing, my dress
a window to a gleaming body,
my body bent

under the weight of being


After the dark mass
of sparrows shoves off
the plumed grasses, the stalks

sway. When birds circle
are they waiting for the grasses
to be still

so they can touch them
again, or are they waiting
for the grasses to be good?


I try to turn
my mind to what I know
like the grasses

which are called nimblewill.
Or this flowering weed,

petals violet-blue as light
inside a drawer.


I know the field can be
a companion
but not my daughter.

I know grasses seem
to darken where they rub
against each other.


If grass could wait, what
would it wait for?


Field wing. Field sky.
Field fall. Field flung.

Field seed. Field sung.
Field fog. Field guess.

Field god. Field ghost.
Field line. Field swerve.

Field bone. Field nerve.
Field greed. Field sprawl.

Field weight. Field wall.
Field hay. Field stem.

Field drought. Field flame.
Field ash. Field awe.

Field myth. Field law.
Field paw. Field tail.

Field feet. Field trail.
Field pod. Field burst.

Field blades. Field thirst.
Field will. Field would.

Field hands. Field hold.
Field breath. Field pulse.