C. L. O'Dell

October 16, 2014

I am standing at the edge of the woods. There is a doe listening to my heart. 

The trees measure me with their bodies full of uncut rulers. What size 

do I have to be to fit this forest? I’ve been here before. I have seen a bear, 

believed the way it pulled was nothing less than some crumb of gravity,

its memory: a heartbeat and a bruise. The hunter pulls back his bow

then lets it down like a snowflake being made and then melting on a tongue. 

The secret of the woods is that the trees have hearts. The doe treats me 

like a heap of corn or a bullet flying slowly toward her. I am measured 

in her round black eye but neither of us can define how small I am.

C. L. O’Dell was born in Suffern, NY. His poems are published in Ploughshares, New England Review, Barrow Street, Southern Indiana Review, and Blackbird, among others, and his poem “My Father Named the Trees” was selected by Dorianne Laux for the Best New Poets 2014 anthology. He is Founder and Editor of The Paris-American, a poetry e-zine and annual reading series at Poets House.

What motivates him to create:
“I create because the mind doesn’t allow the hands to enter; not mine, nor a stranger’s.”