we loved to watch her leaving the river
for obvious reasons
for reasons we smile over

and we look at the mountains here, knowing
this is the paradise that doesn't exist

she crests the little bank
blown dry of the drips in a weak breeze
of the wind that draws to her
we watch her stop
and crumple and splash up in the dirt
and shoot roots deeply

nothing first, a dainty tree with a bowed head
but already with the goodness of slow growth we didn't yet know

and we spent a minute in the shine
and the day was good
and while we learned it well,
we spared the world our naming.

then in a morning, i watched you clear the grass with fire
a two stride square to the middle of which you stepped,
you said a prayer and killed yourself
and the place understood it to be fact

you'd said your something of sanctity
and taken off your clothes
you looked on mountain, marsh, and creek
found life there, and jarred yourself from it

needing not our tools
you willed death and tumbled clumsy joint on joint
into that embered clearing
and threw your roots toward the great fire

looking on your new form,
'we've embedded ourselves on other banks like these
you and I', I said
you know that the names of things start and stop here
that a man who pauses long enough will find on him evidence of other histories
that even skin will scar and keep the lovely letters
of romantics with little knives in the woods

and now near the water, by some years, I know less than you two
you've both begun the stretch
the division deeply downward,
pushing your legs toward the heat of the planet

you've started the looking, slow enough
to see things like truth which only ever crawl passed
to take naked rest in the winter
and be as the sun would wish you in spring

still I am on the bank
trying to step slow into charred grass
to not rush my prayer
we three and more,
will make this forest yet.

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