Some people walk into the forest and look up into the canopy
through the dappled sunlight as it blinks behind the leaves.
But when I walk into the woods I look down
past my feet, deep into the lowest layer of the forest floor
to the life all others see as detritus:
the fallen trees slowly crumbling
the sweet, oaky smell of decay
the auburn brown of mushrooms and rich green of moss.
As my eyes adjust to the dimness there is everything to see
here where the forest both begins and ends.
And I lie there, I lie and wait until
my bones become the roots beneath the forest floor
my hair the vines that wrap around the boughs
my skin the moss and lichen that spreads itself along
and up the closest maple it can find.
Poem by Bethany Hale
Bethany Hale is a wife and mother living, writing, and exploring nature in Lebanon, TN. Her work has appeared in Tiny Seed Literary Journal.