The forest was long and song-
less. All the animal calls had been cut
down. They lay in stacks along the path:
songbird bindle, parcel of foxes’ throats,
packet of bobcat hollers. We tried
to recall them but they wouldn’t come.
Our own calls were hollow and numb
in our necks, and what would come
to that kind of call?

The forest was very tall and all
the trees hummed with some new hum
we couldn’t name. It pinned us through
the lungs. The air ambered around
our arms as we swung them, walking.
The air slowed and syruped and heavied
our mouths like a tongue.

We did not know how the forest
became a museum, mausoleum,
or when. We were still imagining
the bird would respool itself, the fox
refur and return, panting, to our hands.
We were still imagining a clearing,
a meadow, a door waiting for us
somewhere at the end.

Poor illusion. Poor selves, caught
in our wooden cells. The forest
was a forest so long ago
it may not ever have been real.
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