Family Relations

We make our home on the mountain

Alongside those who make their home

Between the branches and the twigs dangling midair

Their silky shelters are the shape of impermanence and plenty

 

Vultures are the poets here

Hickory nuts write letters on the land

I need new ears and eyes

For this terrain, in the fall

 

I keep watch

For the remains of a spider-sucked grasshopper

And the green beetle who dies while sunbathing

On her skeleton hanging by a thread

 

Death eats upon death

Layer upon layer

Life crawls upon life

Personal space is impossible if you are a tree

 

The pond made of iron and clay

Is the scent of rusty water, of summer camp

And muddy handfuls fashioned into bowls

I walk with a broom to shoo the copperheads away

 

Two pileateds tell me this biome belongs to them

A curious armadillo could care less

I praise the animals who dress as leaves and sticks

And the wheel bug who hopes to be a dinosaur

 

So many pretend to be another

While I ask too many questions

 

A voice rolls through the canopy

Now I know why some believe in talking forests

 

I want too much

Wish for the wrong things

New knees

A better heart and a finer brain

 

In this world

On this bluff

I hear the words,

“Be Still”

 

I am 8, 9, 10

Walking through these woods

There’s a wild muscadine vine

Near an old yellow pine

 

I pluck a grape and

Swallow the earth and leathered sour

The taste meets me where I am

A wild body, fissured and enough

 

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