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"The Forest Door" by Hannah Grace Greer

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

It seems to me, that when we sleep

our unconscious


When I was a child, I always knew the forest. On school trips, I would go off on my own, leaving the path, others following me. It was not a sprawling land of unknowns but a snow globe even if I had never visited before. The forest felt right, it felt like cotton sheets over plush cushions, and the fox to follow was—

October fur fills my hands, palms meeting soil, water, musk, land.

It was intuitive knowledge, that of which I had no reason to know. And I kept seeing—kept dreaming of different forests around the world.

The house stood among the windchimes and within the center of the thick. Pines created such a denseness where if I gazed out, I could see nothing but blurry trunk-like figures ahead, shadow escaping like a ballet dancer awaiting their end. The bonfire was lit outside, fire-opal flames scorching oxygen and cooking meat. There were six of us, me among the faceless who follow, and it was peaceful for a few moments.

A woman came and—

there were



of glass

heading towards my face.

It only took me crossing my arms shield-like, for it to suspend and her to leave.

Is it normal that when you sleep there are wars you meet? Or is it merely my natural penalty? At least within the forest, I am free. My great-grandfather too, knew the ways in which the forest scrawled, including all the fungus that grew within its lined walls.

The room and the manor were no longer safe—were never safe. In fact, I wasn’t sure what safety was anymore. I should have never taken the train and as always, the issues of trust imbedded in my being were not abated but fed.

The path “home” would be achieved only one way now as they would go after me all the predictable routes. Most items would be left, suitcased in that trap of a room with delicate patterns coming through the windows, but I felt no attachment.

Out of the room, old hinges sounding, mahogany wood shining. Down the steps to the side door quietly….

Eerily calm, green cloak, past the gates into the dry forest alone.

Someone once told me, “Imaginary journeys are just as real as you and me. Listen to how your mind breathes.”

The bugs of dusk descended as did all the minuscule rotary sounds of their presence. My skin brushed one of the trees that looked as though it had been twisted by wrath. And I spotted white not too far ahead. It was large, fluffy, scaly, with ridges of lemon. It moved—glided fully out behind the tree to see all of me.

We locked gazes, serpentine connecting with hazel, and it fled.

The crystalline boat appeared in the river, peridot energy from boat to water, fueling. I got in and as the boat drove to somewhere, the tiny moons within the river glowed underneath. The forest was not calm but peaceful in its own way, the steady brushes of water and cricket chirps creating an echo chamber.

I slept under a completely empty sky like that of an abyss and only woke when the rhythm of the boat and river stopped.

Stepping out of the boat I saw it

the worn door

its dead daisies

It began whispering

“open open open”

“you must"

My hands felt frozen but I turned the iron knob and opened.

Hannah Grace Greer is a disabled writer and poet originally from Pennsylvania. She is currently studying Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. Her work has been published in New Reader Magazine, Bridge Eight Press, Eye to the Telescope, among others. You can find her @hannahggpoetry on twitter and instagram

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