In the cathedral of this forest
while birds sing unseen
from the vaulted shadows,
I sit in the hand-carved pew
of a sawed-off cedar trunk
and think about last night’s
argument, a congregation
of notes falling, rising,
coins of light clinking
into the basket: the dappled
adagio that ministers
a tight staccato heart.
Century-old trees stand
like mossed-over crosses
unbroken in their silence,
upholding the climb of secrets:
the whispers about living
on what’s left over from
the cacophonous demands of a day,
the scraping of those plates
to give again what is left over, love
quietly shrinking from the beginning
to the end of a word, pursed lips praying
but little abiding as prayer.
Yet here, in a green profusion
the curling ferns, the pungent earth
and the soaring branches cannot hold
all the love that grew them, nor can
the birds so tirelessly singing, nor my
dog chasing a squirrel chasing a squirrel.
The math is simple.
There is no subtraction.
Love’s pulse is steady
and it loads the woodland table,
as it must, even now, heap
a forgotten room in us.
Another poem that first appeared in the Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art in 2017. My thanks again to editors Veronica Golos and Catherine Strisik for including it.