The world was
a cold, constricting, lumpy,
A tiny “I”,
awakened in the soundless obscurity,
begun to buzz, expand and lengthen,
and rush instinctively upward.
The final pushes .. and suddenly – a break through,
a fall into a blinding and overcrowded with movements and sounds,
The course of study that I must follow day after day.
First – recognizing myself apart from everything.
Then – working on the art of balance, perfecting my standing stance
and nurturing my ever-growing trunk.
The hardest one is learning not to shudder
from all the infinitely multiplying, ephemeral contacts
with rain and wind, birds, snow,
the tangles of the omnipresent squirrels.
How meaningful is the existence of everyone who has at least once,
during a cold, transparent and soppy March,
released into the world that gummy and fearful anlage of the first leaf!
The rings of years grow very fast. In the beginning,
I could remember each and every one, in every three-dimensional detail:
the number of rains and snowfalls, the length and width of all off-seasons,
how early or late the birds migrated.
However, with time, my memory begun becoming scattered…
by now – it is a blurry stream…
Yet, rarely, it still occurs –
a sudden moment of depthless clarity and wholeness.
My every single receptor becomes engaged, extremely strained and bare.
As though I’m being submerged into a transparent substance
infused with zero gravity
and -in it- live immeasurably for a single instant.
Slowly but noticeably, it’s getting colder.
It’s hard to keep warm even in the midst of summer,
and during winters – I get numb, the crown to the roots.
The processes are slowing down,
water no longer reaches every single branch.
My tight hoops – the growths of years – are turning transparent
and fragile, like ice.
It’s easy to see the world through them,
but wherever I look I only see the light.
Sometimes it feels as though an entity inside of me
is readying to break free and merge with this abundant light.
My consciousness gets overcome by sudden fear,
it dives downward…
and sees the darkness through the awakened roots
(not that of anti-light, but the continuous darkness of the great rest,
in which one sleeps without memory or dreams).
It was forever written in black on the foremother-birch
that we are not just wood and carbon!
We are The Trees! And our winding roots
connect and sew together
the sleepy abyss of the forever growing past
with the uncertain future, nesting under the edge of sky,
and the unstoppably updating present.
After I’m gone, will there be
a tiny void remaining in my home forest?..
When my essence
leaves this already but withered trunk –
it should be burned.
Poem by Tanya Rodolitz
I am an immigrant who moved to America almost 30 years ago. Until the COVID-19 lock-downs provided me with too much free time, it never occurred to me to try my hand at writing in English. My poem “Mom” was published in Oberon Magazine, 2020.