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by Beth Williams

Cherry Picking

She covered every lock of hair

with a hood on her walk

through the woods. Not even

a single curl poked through.

Her eyes how wide, her lips

unpainted, parted just slight

enough for breath to whistle.

Even beneath the cape

she shouted frail, weight

nearly too much to carry.

Her gait defined her age,

part skip and stumble

over bare knuckled roots.

She was the lone burst

of color, cherry red

against a forest sky.

I picked her like fruit

knowing I could choke,

my tongue making a knot

of her stem while the cage

of my teeth held her calm.


Beth Oast Williams’s poetry has been accepted for publication in Leon Literary Review, SWWIM Everyday, Wisconsin Review, Glass Mountain, GASHER, Fjords Review, and Rattle's Poets Respond, among others. Her poems have been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. Her first chapbook, Riding Horses in the Harbor, was published in 2020.

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