Armstrong 1920 1280 Madeleine Corley

There is much to say about the dirt. How
it frolics beneath toes. I like to think it likes

being touched — held. I watch how
it carves itself into the bodies of trees

burned through the base from forest fires
where the sooted walls paint my hands crayola

ash and I smear it onto my face — eye paint.
And I’m eight weaving a thread through giants

who’ve felt the butterfly palms of children. I am
climbing into their redwood bellies witnessing fire’s

feast and wondering how large the dragons
who lumbered through these woods were when

they endowed Earth with a presence. How
they cannoned holes through emblems and bastions. I reach

my arms around the bark to write it a hug, let it know
I recognize its hunger to thrive. I hope when

I meet my own beasts, I become lion to stand
even as wind echos through singed holes, hollow.

Header photograph © Tara Garrett.

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