a journal of fantastical poetry

The Dryad, on Marrying the Oak

by Alicia Cole

A lowlands girl, fig stock, still I aimed
to marry him: roughneck, stout as a bull,
old, uncracked oak.  He tricked me with
late harvests, the mysteries of the potato
larder; love in my hands like a fungal 
bloom, the arbor of his mouth at my throat.

As trees span, so my husband's voice fell still, 
the whisper of his throaty bough remembered 
like the sweet, hot soil of my youth.  No tree 
spoke the measure of my sorrow.  Painted birch
eased my heart into the wind, trembling as acorns 
sprouted tender and green from my soil.

In these mountains, past sweetness, I became: 
of the loon and the kingfisher, of my husband's 
bones and harrowed tracts of ground.  When 
the storm took its toll, I lay down in his rotting
growth and mossy shade. 

Mothers never tell you trees will die and far too 
soon.  Better to feed you honeysuckle.  Leave 
darkness to some later day.  Let life rise in you, 
the springtime's sap; a rushing murmur, still 
remembered, even in your winter's sleep.

September 24th, 2012

web design © mitchell hart