i. inverted elegy
the creek is where we heal our wounds
and bury our dead.
spring chants loud and hard into the cracks of the well,
drawing up nascent artifacts,
i watch statuary bloom in the rusted places,
horsetailed places, sphagnum bogged places,
eons-bearing lichened places,
half-remembered pine needled places.
ii. the birth of juniper
i stand in the low tide,
aftermath of the clearances,
the mud harbors colonies of stagnant air
and ancient debris. a slim path
between the water and the phragmites
carries me to the mouth of a stream,
spewing bricks and forgotten timber of the sluiceway.
the husk of some indomitable industry wallows in scrawlings.
i follow the ghost of railway tracks out of the city to juniper's house,
between the chasm and the spruce ribs.
she collects the dew in medicine jars.
the wayward branches furl and bristle of ragged greens.
the tamarack branch in the corner of the glass room,
scion of life untethered to the ground,
roused by transmission of spring.
the uncanny offshoot exudes boundless life.
the complexity of a forest is nestled into the jagged bark,
green and violet and verdigris.
juniper prunes microcosms from the understory.
from no womb was she birthed -
from the liquefaction of soil,
from the turbulence of quicksand.
iii. still life on the brink
stood upon the ledge of a chorus,
there is a breaking of the fog.
i wait for the slow revelation of sediment.
another salvager skirts the distance,
a figure so different from my own.
i study the movements of a nervous world.
rivers slow to a halt, dropping their burdens on the shore.
scullers trawl coal from the still water.
carbon holds histories, memories of of ashen blood
and monument forests. the contents of the earth
are pushing through the surface.
iv. hesperian manifesto
chimes in the water,
cool stream rippling.
i pen a manifesto of the sculpture garden.
the sculpture garden wants not to be maintained,
to be swallowed by the earth, to dissolve its pretense,
its framework of legibility.
the bronze wants to bloom with verdigris.
the concrete wants to crack and split,
to harbor moss and lichen like the stone of glacial erratics.
they become like the henges, uncanny and unknowable.
a landscape constellated by monuments.
here is an orchard of three trees,
espaliered into stilted posture,
elbows budding with white flowers.
the field is hung with bells.
three charred stumps congregate at the forest's edge -
even their blackened, fissured skin is sprouting green shoots.
their silence spins slow stories.
i patiently transcribe the movements of this place.
v. marsh scene
nomads' ramblings leave trails across the mud flats -
boot prints in the bubbling silt,
in the shadow of phragmites and errant sycamores.
the trees here stand with the gnarled pride of outcasts.
the rise and fall of tides has left brackish lagoons
lodged in the uphill sand,
glimmering in the wind.
bricks and glass and twisted scraps of metal
litter the mouth of the stream.
further inland, burning bush and oak
lean out over the water,
cradling artifacts of the forge.
a concrete henge stands in the undergrowth.
vi. life in the unfurling
stonecrops and speedwell,
cascading greenery from the cracks between the stones.
flowing water refracts a marbled landscape of submerged lichen.
tendrils reach out across a divide,
bridging estranged parts of the body.
light wavers in the air. i witness a quiet burgeoning,
a reclamation of the discarded husks of seasons past.
the hollow has become a wetland.
the stream carries shimmering silt,
carving bright pathways between the trees.
new growth bleeds out from the waterlogged edges.
i too can unfurl, like the arums of the bog.
the trawlers drift through cloud cover,
carrying relics of the carboniferous.
the forest of horsetails and clubmoss has become a coal vein.
fog enshrouds the woods that take its place,
painting the bark of elm trees with streaks of water.
their roots spread out like fieldstone walls.
this place is an embryo, sheathed in vapor,
careening slowly through constellations.
rust and verdigris grow and molt like organisms.
a forgotten garden of toppled cairns and patient statuary,
bonded to the earth with moss and bird droppings.
coppice envelops the masonry.