The Village Beyond the National Forest

Rain tumbles off the roofs
tumbles downhill
in a black stream
strangled in moss,
gathering at that cistern

where on warmer days
children from the cabins
sink in the mud
and pull from the water
small animals: dragonflies, tadpoles…
naming them
children of their own.

Overhead, in the mouth of a vulture,
a rabbit carcass spasms.
I will be raccoon one day.
The stripes I can’t make out.

The rain stops at dusk.
The day’s last shade: purple.
I wonder what boundaries
the dead keep; their hands
on our shoulders,
their low wounded voices
only for us.

Mark Lewis earned an M.A. in English from California State University, Chico, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas. He has published poems in Louisiana Literature, The Laurel Review, and The Wallace Stevens Journal. He currently lives and teaches in Tokyo, where he is an Associate Professor of English.