You Go Into the Woods Because You Miss Your Body Feb22


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You Go Into the Woods Because You Miss Your Body

You Go Into the Woods Because You Miss Your Body

Claudia F. Savage

Published in Vol. 5 Issue 2 of Written River

the feel of your thighs as they work up hill
the smell of your hair after a day unrestrained
damp and full of pine
the sound of your breath, a lone voice
the way the air moves through your nostrils,
the whistle after

you go knowing that night will come
that you won’t turn on the flashlight
to better hear the male elks
bellow, their song stronger than you thought
could come from such small mouths
their antlers, trees colliding
the females, close and patient

suddenly, the coyotes warm up
haunting the dark with their insistent sopranos
long-muscled and chasing a rabbit
along the white, white landscape
of new snow
they are flanking her
calling to each other        over here

over        here

come    over        here

no                 here

here    here        come

yes        here

tongues and noses pressed to the
newly caught rabbit’s neck
blood still warm, thick
their calls move swiftly across the meadow
red and orange tinged with bright green

you think you want to get to the end of the story
to sleep though your ears are thunderous
with the hunt
but the coyotes crescendo
together, their lungs as full as their bellies
their song is insistent, confident
you crawl out of your sleeping bag
blinking back the night
against the ground you press
your palms, your back and feet
bare tuning forks
your body


Claudia F. Savage has been a chef for people recovering from illness, a book editor, and a teacher of poetry to young women in Appalachia, farmers in Colorado, and urbanites in Portland. Her poems and interviews have recently been in CutBank, The Denver Quarterly, VoiceCatcher, Iron Horse Review, The Buddhist Poetry Review, Cordella, and Bookslut. She’s been awarded residencies at Ucross, Jentel, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and published a chapbook, The Last One Eaten: A Maligned Vegetable’s History. She is a poetry teacher with The Attic, in Portland, OR, and also a member of the poetry/music duo, THrum. An album of their work is forthcoming in spring 2015. Musings and collaborations can be found at and in her column about balancing parenting and art-making, “Leave the Dishes,” at