The Face in the Forest, #114

Laid out under the leaves;
protected from a light
that punctured his hiding
and threatened to whisper
from this tree and that tree.
The boy is beneath you.

The birds, his guardians;
oriole, red breast. Like hawks
they watched out for him. Said
go this way and that way.
Were it not for their song
it would have long found him.

The birds trilled directions,
small sentinels scaling
upwards for “stay put”,
or a four note chord for
“move move move move”.
He’d interpret their code.

Why, it asked from above
the trees, is he hiding
from me? Why’d he hire
this array of nature
to keep himself from me?
Come into the clearing.

But he stayed. Beneath lush
and secure canopies,
consumed grubs and berries,
huddled with the squirrels
and asked what it wanted.
Why did it still bother?

The kindred squirrels
helped him to burrow in.
Then all were off. Shunting
through the forest to find
a voice they could trust, ask
what lives in the clearing.

As they saw the owl
high on her limb, busy
with the crow’s swords and winds
and other conundrums,
they settled back under
and peeked for enemies.

Seeing none they called up:
Owl. Owl. We’re here.
Down she peered and hushed them.
Waited. Then descended.
She explained that the voice
in the clearing longed for

a union, a meeting
of sorts, not terrible.
But that one who entered
the clearing could never
return to the forest,
never hide in the glade.

And so the boy pondered,
with his squirrel kindred
and owl knowledge, moved
to the edge of the trees,
peered into the clearing
and the tall grass grown up.

For a long time, forever
nearly, he thought what thoughts
could be thought. But no thought
would be enough answer
to answer. So the boy
bit down and decided.

That night, at the forest’s
edge, beneath the great trees
and in the company
of friends; owl, squirrel,
all the birds, a great feast
and sad celebration.

In the morning, the boy,
with the most massive leaves
all could find to cover
his eyes from the harsh sun,
stepped out of the forest
and into the clearing.

With each step, his body
grew strong, tall and lanky,
filled out lean with angles.
At first he stumbled, soon
though, found his legs and ran
across the long field.

In the middle he sat
and waited. He waited
all day long for the voice
to guide him, direct him,
at least to welcome him
out into the open.

All night he slept, and then,
on the next day, called out.
Here. I am here. Where you
wanted me. But nothing.
So resolved he’d been duped,
he walked back to the glade.

He called in, then crawled in.
The branches bit his skin
and smelled foreign. The dirt
at his feet felt foul
and repugnant. No birds
could be found. He heard them.

At home nowhere, in pain
in the forest, lonely
in the clearing, the once-
boy sat at the edge. Cried
a great tearful sobbing,
and, at last, tried to sleep.

Laid out under the stars
listening to birdsong
and calling out to some
absent voice. The boy sits,
interpreting visions
of shadows, in absence.

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A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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