A girl goes into the woods

and for what reason

disappears behind branches

and is never heard from again.

We don’t really know why,

she could have gone shopping

or had lunch with her mother

but instead has gone into

woods, alone, without the lover,

and not for leaves or flowers.

It was a clear bright day

very much like today.

It was today. Now you might

imagine I’m that girl,

it seems there are reasons. But

first consider: I don’t live

very near those trees and my

head is already wild with branches


we are

sorry to have to

regret to

tell you

sorry sorry

regret sorry that you have



your hair should have been

piled up higher


you have failed to

pass failed

your sorry

regret your

final hair comprehensive

exam satisfactorily

you understand the requirements


you understand we are

sorry final


and didn’t look as professional

as desirable

or sorry dignified

and have little enough

sympathy for 16th century

sorry English Anglicanism


We don’t know doctoral

competency what to think and

regret you will sorry not

be able to stay

or finish


final regret your disappointment

the unsuccessfully completed best

wishes for the future

it has been a

regret sorry the requirements

the university policy


please don’t call us



Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks including 3 from Black Press: Cold Comfort, Before it’s Light, and  Another Woman who Looks Like Me. Recent books include: Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle; Knife Edge & Absinthe: the Tango Poems. Malala; A Girl Goes into the Woods; Femme Eterna; Little Dancer: the Degas Poems and alivelikealoadedgun.  She edited 3 anthologies: Tangled vines, Lips Unsealed; Ariadne’s Thread. Her website is lynlifshin.com

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