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And if, halfway through the woods, this is all
that remains: tree stitched to tree
in an endless pattern, as loss

back tacks to loss as far as you can see, wind swelling
a sad chorus into the leaves—
then still, onward

you go, admiring,
as only you taught me,
the persistence of wildflowers

needling up from below, never mind
the fickleness of the light
here, the damp that would

a more flimsily
rooted loveliness

And although through every thought now it moves weftwise, your
motherlessness, coming
in degrees, her body of ribbons frayed, her grasp
that rends—guilt’s bright pebbles
flung, stippling the waters of
memory, love—still, you find
a way. Bending

low, you see every flicker
embroidering the leaf mold.
You know their names: bluet

and buttonweed, adder’s mouth
and aster. They are
the bow in the baby’s barely any hair,

the smile not just
of the child who doesn’t know
a reason not to but

of God who
knows even more than we
do and calls them forth

out of the soil, out of the
ruin, coaxes

the thread of each bloom.



Rhett Iseman Trull’s poetry collection The Real Warnings (Anhinga) won the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award and North Carolina’s Brockman Campbell and Oscar Arnold Young awards. Her poetry has appeared in 32 Poems, American Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Southern Review, and elsewhere. She is the editor of Cave Wall.




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