Do you write a poem?




In the forest 12/2021



As I walk I keep looking at the ground

to find something very small, very special.

Maybe a rock or a seed or a bone.


Above, if you strain your neck you see

the trees make shapes against a gray sky.

Branches are drawing their structure in lines overhead.

I imagine each branch.

Who visits there? A squirrel, a bird?


Branches break off from a wind or a heavy snow

or just: the tree is growing old.

Here you walk between trees.

The ground is soft yet braced by breaking sticks from last year

and the year before

and so on.

How far down do the roots go?


It is rare to go up to a tree and touch it.

It’s always too rough, too hard, very cold.

No one is there, just the tree.

Do you know how heavy the tree is?


You see many trees through windows

and you do not imagine what the bark feels like,

how many rings does it have,

how does it feed itself?


Here you know each tree you have seen over many years

looking the same each time but eventually looking different later.

You think “Remember when this tree was younger and there was that vine?”


You cannot count the number of animals in the forest.

There are deer and rabbits, and sometimes a turtle.

Foxes, opossums, and bears come and go at night

though you would hardly know it.

They are weaving through the trees and foliage using their noses

and leaving tracks if there is snow.

Where are their homes?


Large birds circle for something small on the ground.

They perch almost out of sight, but never stay.

Where you have looked many times seems the same

until one day you notice a dried clump

and say “Oh is that a nest?”


I have found a leaf, and another leaf, and a stick.

You cannot build a tree

The tree builds you.



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