…How he submitted—. Loved.  

Loved his interior world, his interior wilderness,  

that primal forest inside him, where among decayed treetrunks  

his heart stood, light-green.

“Rilke, “The Third Elegy,”

trans. Stephen Mitchell

I.

Turn away from the white”capped McKenzie

by the sign that says Blue River Reservoir         4 miles

and drive up the hill where you are already

made lighter by the trees’ stillness

rising through Douglas firs and Pacific silver firs

Western red cedars and incense cedars and hemlocks

around rocky bends where the road

sometimes                  surrenders

to the force of water underneath the soil

Cross the spot where the landslide

“picked up a whole grove of them trees

and left ‘em still standing straight up on the road”

risk a look to your left at the blue      glacierblue

bloodblue                                      water that opens up

past a thin scrim of forest

and promises no bottom                  like a sky

 

II.

Turn away from the reservoir

at the place where the road narrows and rises

first following Lookout Creek

and then aiming for the ridge

FR 1506         FR 1508         Sec 401

everything that was quiet before               now refines itself

into a multitudinous clarity of voice

The creek is nearly inaudible

mumbling in its bed down in the ravine

three woodpeckers tap out rounds

at three different pitches

the Douglas squirrel chirps its warning song

from a low branch        with eye contact

you have grown unaccustomed to in the city

telling you not to turn back

but to pay attention

 

III.

Follow the narrow footpath through a waiting room

of trees           some standing           some lying down

softened by mosses water time

each trunk as large or larger than your wingspan

each once-tree now growing around its new names

home         food                 shelter             witness

Can you imagine a world where our bodies

could continue like this      after falling

where two barred owls could stretch

the membrane of their call       across the forest

tuning everything between them

into the singular voice of a drum

D. Allen is a poet, musician, and artist currently living in Minneapolis, MN, with strong ties to Madison, WI, Durham, NC, and southern Vermont. Using poetic and essayistic forms, D.’s writing explores the body, illness/disability, the natural world, sexuality and gender. Currently, D. is working on Connective Tissue, a collection of poems and lyric essays that uses memory, narrative, and experimental poetic structures to examine the effects of illness on the body. D. has been a writer-in-residence at The Atlantic Center for the Arts (October 2013), the Andrews Forest (March 2014), and Write On, Door County! (January 2015); some of their poems have appeared in Make/shiftOur Lives, and The Helen Burns Poetry Anthology.