Miles from that morning and more
miles from evening camp, in a field
of lichen-covered stones, we sat down
to rest under a ceiling of oak
and hickory leaves on a blanket of last
year's fallen, heat and light shining
from us in the dark woods. I dipped water
into a bowl and set it for Connor
to drink, and I saw in his eyes what he
saw behind me, and I turned and saw
it too, a mirror pool where trees
grew down into the sky, and where
a moment will find you falling with no end
since there is no bottom in the sky.
A tree grows as far in earth
and dark as it does in air and sun,
and a pinioned leaf is matched
by a pinioned root, paired wings
in flight. How could one wing fly?
As breathing and heartbeats anchored
us in the folded woods, we watched
distance in an unexpected place.
Don't you ever leave me, I said
as light tugged at our eyes and held
them taut. Don't you ever leave me.
He did his best. I knew he would.