Forest Conscription

S. k. brownell

                                after Anselm Keifer



only Soldier in the Wood,

Trees are your Spines after

they rip out your Spine.

all of your Ancestors

busy blossoming through

Floorboards, Fire, Fear:

vier, the Children in your Family

vier, the Months you spent

climbing the Mountain

to the Forest of Soldiers,

of Uniforms that float

empty, above death Tolls

and Tithes from the Church,

the only Theatre in your Hometown

that asks you to suspend

your Disbelief from a Noose

your Socks from a Clothesline

your Life for a Country

in the Forest of Soldiers

on Fire.


You are the last of Generations

whose Hair only grows under Helmets

peaked like Polish Spires

whose Ancestors were sawn

in two Floorboards

who were born from the Mouth

of a River that runs

away from the War and the



a place to get lost in,

the Forest of Flies.




S.K. Brownell’s work has won the National Partners of the American Theatre Playwriting Excellence Award, a Sewanee Writers Conference Tennessee Williams Scholarship, and the Solstice Literary Magazine Editor’s Choice Award, and has appeared in or is forthcoming from Great Lakes Review, Solstice Literary Magazine, Crab Fat Magazine, Punt Volat, Decoded: Pride Anthology, and other publications. Stephanie holds an MFA from Boston University, teaches writing at GrubStreet, and creates with Artists Theater of Boston.