Night in the Woods
by Anderson O'Brien

It is summer and I am alone in the woods.
Every year I come to this place,
and every year I say prayers in this darkness.
The trees rustle, the crickets thrum at night,
the creatures around me know I’m here.

The lantern casts pale light
on this quilt given to me by my mother.
In places worn to the batting,
the quilt has traveled to Mexico,
to France, to remote towns in Ireland,
and when I am alone
in the woods at night, it is with me.

My mother made it the year she died;
the crooked stitches create patterns
of stars. I wonder what she thought about
as she sewed each stitch into place—her family,
her days, the life she saw outside her window.

I douse the light, look up
at the sky deep with stars.
Every year I come to this place
and say prayers in this night.

Trusting the darkness, I lie down.

Copyright 2023 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.