Jennifer Bullis

Landscape with Mud and Prints
by Jennifer Bullis

The trails slick and soggy after three months’ snow
and rain. Water fills the woods, floors all the low places
with slow-flowing brown and gray.
Sometimes, the water silvers, and branches above,
as always, green.

Among still-bare canes of wild rose and salmonberry,
a new path tramped by dogs off-leash
leads to a puddle, now pond. I follow the paw prints
to see. At the squelchy water-edge, two big,
oblong prints, made by—knees?

Narcissus, you were supposed to have faded
back into nature: set your roots into the soil
and affixed your eyes to the mirroring murk.
Instead you arose and took power.
You arose in rage, took weapons

into your hands, began to take and take.
Walking these woods, I look around as though
saying goodbye. That’s what women do, right?
A process of subtraction. Now I’m waiting for it all
to be taken from me.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 1.

Jennifer BullisJennifer Bullis grew up in Reno, earned a Ph.D. in English at UC Davis, and taught college writing and literature in Bellingham, Washington, for fourteen years. Her first collection of poems, Impossible Lessons, was published by MoonPath Press in 2013.

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