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Clade Song 3 Left

Clade Song 3


Impossible to Know Which Ring the Ring of the Answer

The trees comb out my questions
until the words are so straight the little climb
and lift of each letter’s sound goes singular and stranded.
Trees like it best when the question is not specific,
prefer the charge of pure asking
which they do not pretend they can address by anything but time.
One of the trees translates
the years of beetles. Another unwinds a cloud.
What I needed from them got snagged on the branch
of a fir. The sack of it torn and spilling.
The tree may get to it some generation: but for now
there is still the ice age they need to declare, and they suspect
one of themselves is thinking again of fire.
The trees are not catching up. They are not behind.
Time is not for the trees, just as the river
is not for its stones.
Last week, a pheasant saw me and went still
in the unanchored shadows of the trees. The trees confuse us
all the time. To them, all asking the same asking.


The Lost Man Meets the Giant

Clade Song 3 right

Jennifer Boyden is the author of two books of poetry, The Declarable Future and The Mouths of Grazing Things, which won the Brittingham Prize. Prior, she received a PEN Northwest Wilderness Writing Residency Award, a gift of time that allowed her to write and serve as caretaker for a year on a remote homestead near the Rogue National Wild and Scenic River in Oregon. There, she barred the doors against drunk bears, talked to boulders, and learned to tie flies. She’s currently working on a new poetry and essay project that is already making frequent use of the word chickens.