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by Terri Brown-Davidson


The mosses have mouths. Fall mornings,

Ensconced in their variegated-color leaf coats

(Gold, yellow ochre, burnt umber, raw),

The maples, slow tilting, observe them.

A wind tumult’s sleight of hand

Peels back the mosses’ slack yellow faces

Tinged unguently green. What dwells beneath?

Are we human without a face? Without a mouth?

Only the mosses know. Hole-holler

And a snake will surely unfurl

From its depths, or something

With bristling hackles. Rattleish.

The mosses, in some afterlife, long

To wax ebullient as roses,

Each shredded red petal dropping rot-riddled.

But roses boast no mouths. Only teeth.


Terri Brown-Davidson's fiction and poetry have appeared in hundreds of journals and magazines, including Hayden's Ferry Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Denver Quarterly, North American Review, Puerto Del Sol, Triquarterly, and Triquarterly New Writers (anthology). Her first book of poetry, The Carrington Monologues, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has received, among other honors for her work, the AWP Intro Award and Yaddo and Millay Colony fellowships.


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