Lost in the Woods

Corinna Schulenburg


The game the two girls play is called
Lost in the Woods. They’re witches,
and warriors, and princesses. It’s winter.
They warm themselves by the fire

of their blazing destinies. Animals
are their familiars, a pig who does tricks,
a unicorn with a horn that heals,
with a horn that kills the marauders

who are, even now, marauding. The girls
have a quest, but like any quest, it’s
slippery, the scenery is up to something,
it’s summer all of a sudden, and the woods

are a village, a mountain, no, an ocean.
They have a quest but tea parties
have their own urgencies, don’t they?
They have a quest but these cauldrons

won’t stir themselves, these spells
need some nursing, these curses
take a lifetime to make, then some hero
breaks them in a single day. The crones

understand heroes are a matter of
perspective. The crones explain that
even pigs have their destinies. The crones
reveal that quests are a kind of mirror,

and mirrors a kind of marauder.
The girls searched for them, the crones,
their answers, found them in the waters
of the enchanted lake. But it’s slippery,

hard to say whose voice is teaching
that the seasons are each a feather
in the wings sprouting from their shoulders
like wheat. It’s hard to make out exactly

who is soaring over the great forest,
girls or crones, and just who at last
can see the whole woods at once,
which is itself another kind of lost,

which is again only another pretending.
It’s lunch time. The girls drop their destinies
in a clatter and run hungry to the kitchen.
Their spells still hang on the slippery air.




Corinna Schulenburg is a queer trans artist/activist committed to ensemble practice and social justice. She’s a mother, a playwright, a poet, and a Creative Partner of Flux Theatre Ensemble. Poems in: Arachne Press, Beaver Magazine, Capsule Stories, Lost Pilots, Long Con, LUPERCALIA Press, miniskirt magazine, Moist, Moonflake Press, Moss Puppy, Oroboro, Pastel Pastoral, Poet Lore, SHIFT, The Shore, The Westchester Review, and more. https://corinnaschulenburg.com/writer/poet/