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'wood ears'

Writing by Paola Lindo. Illustration from Unsplash.

are common,

so soft and easy to pick apart

so i pressed and picked them.

bloody arms and legs i licked them,

the thorns’ tax for marching through

the wood.

would you come with me if i tore off the branches?

would you come with me if i uttered i was fearful of the night?

deciduous trees make insidious shadows and twigs twist to unkind mutations

so i hum, a little incantation, a play-pretend salvation for my drifting mind.

how frivolous to conjure songs against tenebrous bark, a string of fleeting

breaths against expansive dark. i pray for light and you remind me that nothing dies in the forest.

nothing dies in the forest like the wood ears common to bits of perish clinging on the elder,

like styrofoam beads or the omnipresent plastic of the car seat we saw in the river.

tributary. i wanted nothing more than to pry it from the waters.

instead it kept eternal life among the rocks.

nothing dies in the forest. all remains connected to the tired earth,

wildflowers spring out indiscriminately for funerals, weddings, births.

words flicker near flint - too close - for the first time i pray for rain.

i am no dirty liar just quiet. i am no dirty sinner just haven't been forgiven.

nothing dies in the forest. like skittish words that scurry into mind-crevices and never leave my tongue,

nothing dies in the forest like whatever fills my lungs and pries them open to house kindle for fire.

what of man-made languages?

when a body becomes wildfire hymns burn, nothing salvages speech from ash,

or prevents private manifestos from release, thoughts long gone resurrected,

sunken secrets now erected. ardent smoke bursts from my dry-shrub mouth

and i wish i were made from stone like i prayed in vain for rain.

i am so soft and easy to pick apart

when the structure is aflame so brittle is a brain, and so bitter is the reign of words over skin,

of asphalt over wildflowers for funerals weddings and births. would you come with me if i set myself ablaze

to at last become light? to not misinterpret shadows? to leave my body in the winter come spring?

what's for you won’t go by you they say, as if i am very still and you are never lost.

as if we are not travelling sound or bursts of light or waves of water, as if i cant reach out and pick

and press and pull you in, or solitude our human curse. nothing dies in the forest all the while

time passes through the mountains up north and the open hills down south

through the saplings and the elders and our aching joints and mouths. beyond anything we make with our hands.

it has nowhere else to go.

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