When we hiked out of the forest at dawn

before the logging trucks,

the stars glittered through spindly giants,

uninterrupted by branches,

whispering birth secrets.


The Kalmiopsis Wilderness

in Southeastern Oregon

burned two years before

in an all-you-can-eat wildfire.

We came later

with signs and evidentiary letters,

appealing to their sense of community, decency, beauty:

Please don’t log the blackened forest, so it can return!

They did not hear us.

So we blocked the roads,

called the news,

cut our wrists on the tight plastic handcuffs,

admired our pictures in the paper.

We returned the next day to repeat our ritual.


There is so much waiting and wondering,

haunted worry and falling down,

fighting and breaking bones

in the death stories.

Then it is time

to move, march, shove, thrust.

There is no why;

the trillium blooms unapologetic,

only a white blossom in trinity

rising to uncoil

a dangerous hope.


The opposite of dying

is pushing green buds

through hard wooden skin

and calling it life,

as if this never happened before.

The opposite of giving up

is standing together

or carrying each other home.

The opposite of despair is Spring.


Even when you think you have nothing left,

your heart betrays you and beats anyway.

Are you dead yet?

No – and there comes a moment

when joy tricks you into a song

and the small bird inside you

springs up through the trees,

burnt and branchless.

You are chirping,



whether or not you believe in sunrise.

GRS 3/21/14

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