By Michele Forster
Hemlocks laddered by pegs of broken branches.
Remnants of things I knew,
people I love, and can’t climb anymore.
The rings of this stump are the years I have lived.
Each pushing out from the one from before.
A shagbark hickory shingled by feathering bark.
Dead wood protects what is alive inside.
The burn of the forest allows the forest to grow again.
Fires break open what lies dormant beneath the floor.
I came to these hills to know myself.
I leave without a name.