This poem was published in Lily Lit Review in 2004. It was also used by artist Shanna Wheelock as part of her sculpture-tapestry exhibit at the Harlow Gallery in Hallowell, Maine.
Song for a Forest
no one can tell me
the forest has no flesh.
my feet have tasted its roots,
licked across arteries
even as their spirals split
again and again
below a simmer of fallen leaves—
pumpkin, pale, russet—
and a dark brewing depth
of drunken earth.
why are leaves drumming
and oak limbs swaying to a beat
as ripe as a lover’s heart?
why are raindrops sad or joyous
on the eyelashes of pines?
ants are red cells in a greater blood,
sparrows breaths in a windy lung.
owls are nothing but the pupils of elves
half torn from fetal sleep,
deer nothing but caresses
of brown fingertip.
i kiss streams with my eyes
and they kiss back with pouts of sparkles;
or whisper into my ear, soft as sensual lips.
i follow them where they feed cushions of moss,
toes of alders, visions of blue pools sky-entranced.
i hear messages in warbles and whirs
that come together like bits of a thought.
i watch sunlight splinter into bright lines,
the outer edges of a smile.