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©2018 Barren Magazine. An Alt.Lit Introspective.

Sharp Parables


by Emily Osborne

Children hear of water-hoardings.
Lorelei floating gold cups, coaxing
gullible girls down. Ancient cities
settled by kelp and shells.
Rivers refusing tossed-in shoes,
certain that boys thought dead
are somewhere still, walking.

In autumn we puzzled our lake
with threadbare toys, scraps
and warpings, watching swells
lull and shellac our discards.

In winter we moved whisper-dust
rumours, of wakes under deep
prison glass, the lake’s keeping,
where the missing swam with
objects we once owned.

Officials would come,
piecing past a lacustrine spot,
with stop-walk reports:
there, the forest tarping
white-ambered tracks.
There, slumped trees
shouldering cuffs of wind.
There, a hut tired of
hearth-stories, rough nights
charred by tree-cuttings –

Cold shapes inhabit fables:
father winter, maiden daughters,
a queen’s snow-spool unraveling,
tales of caution restless, gathering,
a child’s body, ice-shard riddled,
growing numb on endless games.

By spring, our eyes are fogged
and frost-buckled, mirroring
only parables sharp and bleak.
Through cracks, we see a lake
brimming with a lost brother.

Header photograph © Asher.

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2 comments

  1. I find this poem inspiring. I especially love these phrases: “water-hoardings,” “Rivers refusing tossed-in shoes,” “whisper-dust/rumours,” and “frost-buckled.” Excellent work, Emily Osborne.

  2. […] “Sharp Parables” by Emily Osborne (Barren Magazine) […]

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