Man in Stream
You stand in the brook, mud smearing your forearms, a bloodied mosquito on your brow, your yellow T-shirt dampened to your chest as the current flees between your legs, amber, verdigris, unraveling today’s story, last night's travail . . . You stare at the father beaver, eye to eye, but he outstares you—you who trespass in his world, who have, however unwilling, yanked out his fort, stick by tooth-gnarled, mud-clabbered stick, though you whistle vespers to the wood thrush and trace flame-flicker in the grain of yellow birch. Death outpaces us. Upended roots of fallen trees still cling to moss-furred granite. Lichen smolders on wood-rot, fungus trails in wisps. I wanted a day with cracks, to let the godlight in. The forest is always a nocturne, but it gleams, the birch tree tosses its change from palm to palm, and we who unmake are ourselves unmade if we know, if only we know how to give ourselves in this untendered light.
From Ghost in a Red Hat, published by W.W. Norton. Copyright © 2011 by Rosanna Warren. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.