Gabriel Fried

The Places We Knew Not to Go as Children

The places we knew not to go as children

we went anyway. Something in the jag

and shimmer of them herded us. Something

in their surfaces enchanted us. Something

seeming sticky. The bog that bores into

the orchard like decay into a tooth glistens

like a ball field with algae. We walk on

floorboards in the hayloft, daring loosened

planks to flip us down to cement floors.

We return to the troubling shack out

in the woods, to its mattress and paddle.

We listen to the murmurs of the unmarked

well, shining like a wound amid the field,

echoing, It is safe, it is safe as houses.



“The Places We Knew Not to Go as Children” is reprinted from Making the New Lamb Take (2007) by permission of Sarabande Books.