My body’s a map
of ravage and mirageâ€”
a topography of hard
from unforgiving hills,
the deep crevasseâ€”
cities left to smolder
countries to decay.
The more I unfold myself,
the more visible the world.
My Other Country
a bleak expanse.
Along the border,
In its distances,
In its heartland,
No tigers, dragons.
Only the trek
and no way back.
The Forester’s Wife
He wooed me in greenwood, beneath beech
and butternut, among fir and pine.
Sang of aspen and ash, dogwood, juniper,
yellowwood, and yew. His tune
the wind in spring leaves, hands rough as bark,
gentle as leaf-brush.
He showed me seedling, sapling, and shrub,
taught me to love the tender stem, budding branch.
At night he sighed his litany into my sleepâ€”
sugar maple, sweetgum, truelove treeâ€”
until it became the scaffold of my dreams,
the understory of our days.
And in the fall, the needles and nutshell,
the fleshy fruit, dark canopy overhead,
rustle of the forest night, its floor our bed.
Oh, heartwood, Oh, passion oak.
I whisper in his ear.
Oh, flame in the woods.