4th Annual Terrain.org Poetry Contest Finalist


Download poem audio in .mp3 format.

How to enter the woods like water

I forget the outfaced
windows I have blurred

and mottled as the lightning
the sky like damaged film,

forget my part
in viscosity and snot;

cold breath, spit
and rain.

I do not imagine rust
or the pain of falling,
or the rabid one

that drinks from tin
cups in the storm,

its wagging tongue,
the raveled saliva string.

I was only worm-gloss
when the junco picked me up,

the root-rot in drowning
mold and loam.

I never try to give it up,
never think about this cycle
of evaporation and convection,

these poor approximations
of desire.

I have traveled enough
to know how little it pays

to worry where you are.




Download poem audio in .mp3 format.

How to enter empathy

Be in sickness as
A ruminant with an intestinal twist.
Find words that might evoke the smell of mud—

Sour, loam, sweat—
Walk where it furrows and hardens
With glints of ice and bluish snow.

Each you you have been is brinked
Upon the solemnity of loss—
Each time you speak, the concept

Of summer grows more tenuous.
The best in you is the worst in all of us.
Trust plodding, inefficient steps

When you hear them. You are algal
In the mind of lakes.
It isn’t clear, but it can be clearly put—

Steer out of the cult of wellness.




Cal Freeman was born and raised in Detroit. His writing has appeared in many journals, including Commonweal, The Journal, Nimrod, The Cortland Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, and the Paris-American. He currently lives in Dearborn, Michigan and teaches at Oakland University.

Photo credit: duane.schoon via photopin cc

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