The Woods Behind my Father’s House
I have been lost in these woods before.
I have seen this tree, scarred and twisted,
and not recognized it.
My feet have paced this unfamiliar path
tripping over roots that were never there.
The spaces between the trees are dark and forbidding.
The ferns at my feet fill the unfamiliar forest floor
and grow as high as my waist,
hiding a whole other world under their fronds.
I keep my hands close to my sides
and my shoulders scrunched up to my ears
to protect the thin bones of my neck.
The scream of a crow,
and the thump, thump, thump of a pheasant
clear my ears.
A breeze blows a fern aside and opens my eyes.
I am no longer lost.
I beat a hasty retreat
before the shadows throw their cloak again
over my fragile memory.