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This is Not a Fairytale

By Amanda Auchter

You tell me not to get lost in the forest,

but I was born of damp leaves

and whippoorwill cries. I fit sorrow into

the wasp nest in the sweet gum trees

and at night, my skin is moon-pale

and just as cold. You, like all lovers,

watched me drag my feet through

the wilderness and wanted to save me

from the dark. I am the dark,

dearest. You cannot rescue

what is already wild, the animal,

its midnight call. I was the one

who climbed into your mouth

and wanted so much of you —

tongue, iris, shoulder blade,

and cock. Don’t save me,

love. Let me make you of mud

and sticks, of quills and river

stones. Let me slip you into my dress

and wear you next to me. Wear you out,

wear you down, wear you until you fall

from my torn skirts, and I bury you.


Amanda Auchter is the author of The Wishing Tomb, winner of the 2013 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Poetry and the 2012 Perugia Press Book Award, and The Glass Crib, winner of the 2010 Zone 3 Press First Book Award for Poetry.

Her recent work appears or is forthcoming at The Huffington Post, CNN, Crab Creek Review, Rust + Moth, Shenandoah, The Indianapolis Review, The West Review, and the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day project.

She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College and runs the online shop, Midnight Apothecary.

Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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