I find the trail
the same as it has ever been,
highbush blueberry and rock,
ringed by hills,
the monsters of my boyhood nights.
Rediscovery is brought to grief
by the absence of so many.
Viburnum mist cloaks the way ahead
but the crunch of my footsteps on
last year’s leaves is all
the navigation I need.
On each side, firs compete with oaks
to see who can block the most sun.
For a time at least, the deciduous triumph
over the tall green lords of winter.
My reasons for coming here
are my reasons for being anywhere.
The present is like the head of a long line.
I’m drawn to turning it back on itself.
I find the pond where I had scooped up tadpoles,
run my fingers down the deep furrowed bark of white ash,
listen to the caw of unwelcoming crows
and the piping curiosity of chickadees.
All is as before. A forest is memory outside the head.