Walk in the Woods After a Storm by Tyler Kline

When the grandfather tree falls,
he falls into his own coffin
beside his children and grandchildren
who stand like onlookers
at a wedding
awaiting the next verse.

 
Something said or written
marked this tree as once alive.
Signified its anatomy
into dignified parts –
the cursive of limbs,
torso of cedar.
The innards of bough decomposed
like an opened pillow.
Bottle an artist left
years back
smoothed into the wet dirt.

 
My mother told me stories
of walking her mastiff
over this land.
Told me her father
fell ill and passed away
before her eighteenth birthday.
Told me she was left
tending a sickly mother.

 
I don’t think the forest
knows family,
but it knows life.
The daughter and hound,
years later –

the mother and son.
Walking the canopy’s foyer
after an autumn storm, observing.
My hand quiet across her back,
her eyes kept like secrets.
The nomenclature of loss
written from all angles
in this country of pine.

 


Tyler Kline balances his time between working on an organic vegetable farm and studying English at The University of Delaware. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in East Coast Literary Review, Y’all’d’ve, Diverse Voices Quarterly, and The Camel Saloon.