Declamador

Taking a stump for his lectern
he arranges a page turned out of his pocket:
a yellow ball,
a ball resembling clay,
which he rolls with a thick hand
into the flat of the cedar.

Once there were words,
the page was new, veined
with blue ink like a suckling,
but the forest took them first.
It rained.
A drizzle fell from the lodgepole pine,
a fine mantilla fell on his fingers
where they worried with paper
and the running ink.

Once there were whorls
milled in the paper,
ridges like those of his thumb,
enjoying their feel, dryly enjoying,
he had left for the forest
but the forest took them.

It rained.
A syllable fell from the sycamore,
a veil more gentle than thinking,
on his fingers, where
they evened the smooth, pale page.

He didn’t speak then.
The ferns breathed out instead,
mosses sweat into pools,
chickadees jibed and jigged
in the chokecherry bushes.

Two hundred mornings pass in the same way.

Approaching the stump, he removes
from his pocket an earth-colored pea
soft as hashish
which he crumbles with thick fingers
into the flat of the cedar.
He presses the grains of his words
into the lichen and the old sawcut,
into the salt and the weeping damp,
and reads, by heart,
the ring in the wood.

Copyright © 2019 Lilibug Publishing.