Maybe out there somewhere
there lies a path
overgrown now, weed-choked, stopped
by debris--a fallen log
astir with insect life,
its loosely clinging bark
where once a person might
have turned aside and found
down rootbound valleys
hidden there among
the shadow leaves (whose negatives
The woods hide gold that is and isn't
show rending claws that are and
are not bears.
Some things are food and poison, some rain
and dew and blood.
Maybe there was a way
through then, although it didn't
seem so. A poke,
a prod might have revealed--what?
Dog-run, deer-trail, some parted sea
of weeds revealing tracks
beyond my understanding,
patterns I had not the skill
And maybe after miles, after bright orbs
of white and yellow dazzled me like
swamp gas, will-o-wisps,
for who knows what the cycles,
or now, or when, or
I might have turned and recognized
a flower, called its name,
rhododendron, devil's trumpet, trillium,
felt suddenly unlost and therefore safe;
or else, aswim in plants evermore
strangers to me, no path, abandoned
by taxonomy, I sprint
a barefoot madman through clasping leaves--
green twigs caught in my hair, bugs crawling through
the dirty thatch of my gray hermit's beard,
be so unmade and deliriously free, I would
to joy and to oblivion
It could be so.
For now, as lost here in these words
as any child forsaken in the wood,
gone feral, wolf-raised out of sheer neglect,
I find just tangled thoughts, a knotted string
around my hand, so difficult to trust.
What have I snared? What is it tugs and leads
me on around the next
leaf-shaded bend? Whose hand?
Or is it my own dumb animal soul
now bound here by some hidden hunter,
So many knots, and spoken promises
once breathed, that can no longer
Walk far enough, and nothing will make sense.
Maybe it lies there still.