there were ragged and blustery days,
when i was the little girl on the hill,
lost among muddy brambles and rocky paths.
the stream ran howling past moss and the trout lilies.
spring always starts at the streambed, and works its way uphill,
like pigment spreading through wet paper.
the sediment was cold and shimmering.
the forgotten corners of fields and pasturelands were marked by artifacts,
ruined walls and iron contraptions, hawthorne copse and granite dolmen.
horsetails swarmed the edge of the gulley,
that bastard stream separating lawns and roadsides.
the horsetails here are sunken in hiding -
their rhizomes are dug deep in the soil,
in the undifferentiated chaos of the rootspace.
a soil without organs. in spring,
the parts begin to name themselves.
ii. last chance salvage
a vessel of rust rattles by -
last chance salvage.
wind shakes the spirit chimes,
the reeds and the calyptrae.
i find footprint residue of slinking creatures.
the lake leaves letters as it dries, scraps of futile poetry.
my body is wind-scoured and unfamiliar.
i catch impatient glimpses - a forest of wandering azalea,
ivy shadows on the plaster, a warped window to call my own.
sometimes i want more than fragments.
iii. weight of water
flowing water excavates the ruins -
the dam and the pumphouse, broken and scattered through the gulley.
shards of terracotta and bottle glass. the stream is a portal,
shimmering in the light of another place.
i watch the pools undulate.
i hold my hands in the water to feel its tactility,
its weight and momentum.
so much for something that cannot be seen,
only inferred through refractions.
there are worlds in the branches,
rose-colored cones and fruiting bodies of sagacious lichen.
the tamarack was always with me.
bark like scales, cemetary guardian.
life from death in spring.
my palms are crowded with overgrowth,
flitting and skittering organisms.
i swim to sky-borne sculptures across the stream.
across a shade of celadon,
simple fractures in the sunlight.
fruiting bodies and sediment.
i watch the slow river etch away colors in the glaze,
wind-battered shore. unbidden koi pond in the forest.
i remember wine crystals on the wood,
sun-stained vineyard and plaster walls.
the rivers in the stone all lead to this place.
iii. fertile soil
the streambed here shimmers with mica.
the swamp brings its bounty of silt to the floodplain,
where wild leeks carpet the ground.
bloodroot and trillium form sigils on the forest floor.
these are chimerical lands, shifting with the movements of wetlands and aquifers.
i walk the edge of the quaking fen.
wisps of shadbush hang their flowers like wind chimes,
like pale talismans.
i feel a renewal through the soles of my feet.
i. the tower
sunlight trickles through cloud,
dousing the base of an inverted tower.
the stone, the shell, the reliquary structure.
sister worlds span seasons' passage -
islanded in the stream. push the sediment aside.
i approach the ruins, breath held tight.
fruiting bodies and calyptrae swarm the lip of the opening.
i remember these bastions, overgrown and lichen-fractured,
concrete footprints of a coastal behemoth.
the war has littered the shoreline with coquina skeletons -
the rubble of moltings and mutations.
i clamber over the low wall,
sharp on my palms, dancing cloud of spores.
stone hedges crisscross the fields like leylines.
forgotten ruins of a battery plant.
an effervescence graces the waste field,
roots churning the toxic soil.
there are artifacts here, scattered among the fledgling meadow trees -
relics of wood and metal left untouched, unsanctioned.
deep in the tall grass, a rusted meter stands on plywood stilts,
monitoring some unknown quantity.
once there were beasts here -
megafauna dwarfed by the horsetails and clubmosses.
those dryads still loom over their own patches of moss and wetland.
their vessels pulse and thrum, singing like instrument strings.
iii. nuclear lake
i follow a sunken path to the sunken foundations,
recallin fragments of a story which only the trilliums remember -
writhing energy in the fissures of a nucleus.
now shadbush and laurel grow placidly along the shore,
barely a scar left to remind us of clandestine structures and their noxious runoff.
what secrets have i walked over?
but the moss is unimpeded, inexorable.
biomes ooze and undulate through the margins.
iv. haunt of fossils
puzzlegrass temples rise from the waterlogged earth,
piercing the leaf litter as they grow.
an errant snow flurry cuts across the hillside.
the mountain is hollow, and teeming with mycelium,
marked by the cipher-trails of beetles.
i am followed by living fossils.
the static in my head flows with the tide.
i carry the bones of the coppice on my back,
and grind them into spores.