The southern forest

Misty woods in the dark
Photo by Rosie Fraser on Unsplash

Found below the gnarled tree
are woods where few venture
due to disappearances,
save one or two teenagers
walking in with a baby and walking out with none,
and a baby might be fed  flesh by crows
 from carcasses
picked until the flesh becomes insufficient
and it must learn to hunt with others
from the wood, exposing itself to moonlight,

venturing out to little houses, stealing clothes
from empty ones, stealing people from the full,
and on such a night, a wife missing,
 someone furious lit
a flashlight and roused his neighbors,
who also lit flashlights and lanterns,

into  wood they went
till all  lights were extinguished,
quiet and swift,
and autumn howled as it always did,
without further interruption,

No one remaining in town said a word,
the moneyed had left
and the poor waited their turn,
tying bows to the gnarled tree
hearing fairies laughing behind them.

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