Independence River

There is a forest that I return to

when I can’t get away from the pulsations

of thinking. A forest of tombs as still 

as dead tree trunks and melodious as raindrops

on red pine needles. The paths of my ancestors.

In this forest, I am not alive like I usually am.

 Stepping in mink tracks, I know this place in

my tendons like a ghost knows the temperature of

fog. Here, the Independence River runs like a lovely

ribbon until it pounds into a ravine of crumbling shale. 

And I know that old hunger returning from vanished glaciers. 

In this forest, my arms, as I meander, wave like prayer flags

hung out to the ragged border between life and death- a place

where I can survive outside the womb. A place where I can

become a wilderness dancer touching the mud softer than ivory. 

Photo by George Cassidy Payne

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