Seasonal changes in the forest around my Athens, Georgia, home often provide metaphors for my own emotional seasons and self discoveries. "January Woods" examines such a discovery. The second poem plays with the wistful notion that social media could reach beyond the confines of the planet. My poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, The Atlanta Review, Colere Journal, and many other journals and magazines. My fourth and most recent collection of poetry, The Hero of the Revolution Serves Us Tea (Negative Capability Press, 2014), is based on my Peace Corps service in Romania (2010-2011).
Another year. What lies around me
will not rise—hope broken, plans
abandoned, promises splintered into kindling.
Slant light illuminates in yellow
all that’s fallen in the forest.
Finger shadows stretch across the ground.
My woodsman father, walking with me
under winter trees, once countered
my complaint at nature’s messy flooring,
my need to set it neat. He smiled, knowing.
Deadfall changes, lying beneath what lives, he said.
It decays to nourish in a necessary cycle.
I’m listening now, wanting to believe again
the obvious truth, that gray begets the green,
wanting to hear the resonance of wisdom
in my father’s voice long silent, to feel again
that calm of his assurance soaking in
and moving through my roots.
Because I cannot talk
to those who’ve left,
ears once primed to listen,
I talk instead to the world at large—
to cynical cities, wide-eyed towns,
to unknown selves
across the drifting plates
that bear the listening hills
and open steppes,
the woods alert to the charge of air
that shimmers leaves to attention.
Wireless warbler, I cyber sing and text.
I learn to tweet and blog.
I submit. I send.
I’m World’s new Friend
as I e-chat clicking comments to the skies,
the stratosphere, beyond.
Who knows how far these signals go?
Sometimes I sense impossible replies,
messages I can never open
except in desperate dreams.
And even then the words
are enigmatic and the date
is never clear.
©2016 Clela Reed
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