T.L. Stokes


Reading Marvin Bell's poem
you look up. The sun suddenly
sucks dark fingers from the room.

You turn to the great window.

Clouds fill the sky like the backs of giants.
Motionless trees lean down the hill
toward the half-hearted field
split down the middle
by a raft of alders.

The bear and her cubs have moved on.
Shadow of the deer
falls from the thicket
a mile from your vision.

Dogs sleep like blankets
around the room, their ears folded
like hands at rest.

This is the time before something happens.
Before the poem ends. Across the blue water planet
something dies,
then something is ushered in.

All things go away and leave us. The tree
decomposing is the birth bed of the seeding.
Your daughter is saved from dying
by the prayers of her grandmother

who then dies before the seedling rises.
Here we are at the door of the forest
just beginning to learn
to see.

You step in without naming a thing,
wrap yourself in the green air.
Begin to read the poems hanging from
little arms of ferns,
bible of buttercups,
ancient script of hooves
carved in warm mud.

The day is not a day but a dream.
Your body is not solid
but the curious blood of wonder soul
wearing scarfskin and bones;

a child pulling your pant leg,
crying hurry,

you don't want to miss this.

T.L. Stokes is a poet and photographer living on a small alpaca farm near Ames Lake, Washington with two dogs, a cat and an English nanny. Previously published in Ancient Wind Press, Ludlow Press, Comrades Press, UK, Gin Bender Review, the 2River View, Stirring - A Literary Collection, Pierian Springs, Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, Taj Mahal Review, India, in Snow Monkey by Ravena Press, and in "Everwar Blues" by Compassionately Stoneground Books. Short stint as poetry editor at Little Brown Poetry. Current literary project titled "The Post Office Poems" in Fall City, Washington.

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