I hike a horse trail, tread moss and mire west of Kennesaw Mountain,
cross Noses Creek’s crumbling banks. I stop, rest, sit on a rotting log
where stone piles of Confederate earthworks cover the ground,
testaments to what this place has seen, remnants of what it has been.
From here the woods are white, brittle with leaves still clinging to beech trees.
From a fallen beech, a hermit thrush murmurs, flutters farther into brush
when it sees me. Three whitetail does stand vigilant, in an instant bound
through dusk, tails flared, one with trembling leaves these branches
will bear until spring, will bear as my own limbs hold whispers stirring,
these stories of what it means to die, yet remain bound to a living thing.
Previously published by Thrush Press as a broadside in October 2012
and nominated for the Pushcart Prize; broadside available at www.thrushpress.com