Pending publication in the Oregon Poets Association

I stumble through the tangle of old growth. I stumble through a clear cut’s slash. I
hike: Lobaria a verb above the mossy trail. I hike: bracken brushes bare shins and
arms. Long traverse: hyphenated, forests become adjectives: old-growth, clear-
cut: links follows gaps between my stumbles through vine and slash: square hole,
round peg: no squaring an open circle in a human lifetime. Flood, wind throw,
lightening: an avalanche-sliced swath of old growth begins anew: live things live
in lava flow (see the west flanks of Santiam Pass for a glimpse of possibilities):
green a code to grow by: of old growth perhaps too primeval too lush too many
waters in free flow too too too many blossoms and spiders for science to decipher;
blueprint different (and same) for plantation nth-growth row-after-row born from
clear-cut: free from ambiguity or uncertainty: it is and will be cut in eighty-odd
years. Two peaks to gaze from: summering sharp-edged rocky one: slick ice-
covered wintering one: boots step into the wild’s simile of racism: species-
ism: Spotted Owl one with old growth’s multi-story canopy: and migrating
Barred?: opportunist? beneficiary? convert? acolyte?: unplanned surprise, says
dispassionate science, continuum thunderclaps blowing: flesh and blood synced to
crossbreed Spotted-Barred’s hybridized call: hoo-hoohoo-howawwh!: spectral mix
of black and white: gray in the amalgam: what is a Northern Flying Squirrel to
think?: only deep time knows if clear-cut thefts rise to the call of Disturbance.

Michael G. Smith  is a very-early retired chemist whose poems are forthcoming or have been published in many literary journals. He has published three poetry books, No Small Things, The Dark is Different in Reverse, and The Dippers Do Their Part, co-authored with Laura Young from their residency at the Spring Creek Project’s Shotpouch Cabin. He conducts workshops on the intersections of poetry, science, mathematics and Nature, and lives in Santa Fe, NM.