THE NORTHWOODS

As I drive alone along the highway, 
soft air comes in through open windows,
the woods and meadows, the sunlight
after the rain, are so like my woods
a lake and state away. There, white
papered birches glow beside dark
hemlocks, form families under giant
white pines. In these unknown
woods, just like home, dark oiled
log cabins sit down pine needle
driveways, dotting lake shores, 
as smoke rises from their weathered
rock chimneys. These are not the logs
or lakes that witnessed the first
fish I caught, or heard our teenaged
chatter as we walked along the road.  
Only our maples, birch and white
pines stood vigil as we spent
afternoons laughing on piers, 
took turns learning to ski. 
Only our cabin logs watched
rainy day jigsaw puzzles, evening
games of Hearts or Spades, 
years saw us grow up, 
and go away. Now we drive
through unfamiliar woods.


MELISSA RENDLEN, after many years of practicing emergency and urgent care medicine, decided to go back to her love of writing poetry. Through classes and workshops she has tried to improve her craft and has had poems previously published in L'Éphémère Review, GFT: Press, Indolent Press’ What Rough Beast, Still Crazy, Ink in Thirds, has been a Tupelo Press 30/30 Project poet, and had an honorable mention in Concrete Wolf's chapbook contest with her first attempt at a chapbook. She continues to write, and has kept her day job.