Marianne Forman

Finding Life in the Graveyard During the Pandemic


Weaving our way through the scrub sanctuary

our feet take on the sand

and the ash

of a deliberate burn.


Our steps shrouded

in the most fragile of silences.

Whole trees lay prone on the ground

hollowed out from the proscribed flames.


The fires burned here

unevenly, indiscriminate

of wings or bud

of bloom or leaf.


And if we listen with places our ears

cannot hear,

green tendrils now sing

from the knotholes.


A wordless lyric

accompanied by scrub jays and a southerly wind.

Palm leaves lattice themselves

with pine needles, precarious on charred branches.


There is no limit

to this resurgence of living vines

in this graveyard place.


And if we listen with places our ears cannot hear,

we absorb this sanctuary cadenza

open-throated and leaning into the light, echoing




After having taught middle and high school English for 32 years, Marianne Forman is now nurturing her own creative spirit.  She has spent three summers in Guizhou Province, teaching best practices to teachers in China. She received Fulbright-Hays Awards to Nepal (2003) and Turkey (2009). Marianne participated in Marge Piercy’s Juried Intensive Poetry Workshop (2016).  Marianne’s poetry appears in Muddy River Poetry Review, Belle Reve Literary Journal, Jelly Bucket Journal, among others.  She has a collection of poetry forthcoming in 2020 from Shadelandhouse Modern Press.

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