Peel Forest


The river, once meandering gravel beds
now runs amok from bank to bank
pitching whole trees down raging slopes.
Beneath a black cathedral sky
I watch you fade into the forest.

Safe in the beeches’ creaking cover
my eyes leap from the muddy path
up to the canopy clawing at the sky.
A wild chill fingers me,
wild roots grasp the moonscaped hill
wild creatures crouched in trembling dark
shoot their eyes at me.

Bright against the moss and rock
in the dark of a canyon
the waterfall chilled by the memory of ice
crackles on your naked back
and from the fathomless shade
echoing with hysterical water music
I watch you stretch dry clothes on wet skin
then, barefoot and black
the greatcoat lapping your calves,
stride back up the path.

When the rain comes,
cannoning through the branches,
slimy roots snatch at our feet.
You rush ahead again
and slithering after on buckling legs
I track your dissolving toe prints
until they are gone
and you too far ahead.


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