Survivor

Forest with fallen tree trunks in summertime

Survivor

Smoldering air presses on my shoulders
Smoke lingers, lungs labor
Eyes water, I stumble among

Charred remains of broadleaf forest
Snap, crack, vibrations radiate up my legs
I lament over fallen trees, injured

Soldiers strewn like pick up
Sticks on a forgotten battlefield
Wounds ooze sap, limbs abscess

Causalities cry out, I cringe
Bone saw grates, chain saw roars
Surgeon removes a limb in hope

Of saving a sentinel,
I pray for nurturing rains,
Reseeding, and regrowth

Months pass before next visit
My eyes and smile widen as
I spot a chartreuse shoot near a

Slippery Elm’s burly scar
Regrowth brings new life

 

Poem by Suzanne Cottrell

 

Suzanne Cottrell, an Ohio buckeye by birth, lives with her husband and one rescued dog in rural Piedmont North Carolina. An outdoor enthusiast and retired teacher, she enjoys reading, writing, hiking, knitting, Pilates, Tai Chi, and yoga. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Avocet, Poetry Quarterly, The Pangolin Review, and Burningword Literary Journal. She’s the author of two poetry chapbooks: Gifts of the Seasons, Autumn and Winter and Gifts of the Seasons, Spring and Summer, (Kelsay Books). She was the recipient of the 2017 Rebecca Lard Poetry Award, Prolific Press.