I had a nightmare of the woods
where a group of friends and I
took a shortcut from the party
in a jeep, in twilight.
As soon as darkness descended,
little children-shaped beings emerged
with old-world clothing, elf caps, rorschach faces.
They shot dead vines from their wrists
binding us to trees, filling our mouths, drowning our jeep.
Once, when I wasn't dreaming, a friend and I got lost in the woods.
I watched the darkness fall from the back of her head
as we touched the trees to look for markers.
The lights peeping through the branches
told us there would be no snarl,
no chance we'd evaporate, lifeless, into sunlight.
We entered the campus from a strange angle--
cars gleaming on pavement, the tall backs of dorms--
and emerged again into what we knew
as the clouds wove colors into the sky.