aaaTalladega National Forest

There is no silence worth sitting in that wants for
the congress of frogs, sloppy birdsong, bees.

This quiet, built over long ages, so sudden
I can watch it act on us like mountain weather.

You give the science of energy, accumulation, mass
to me: sermonless, one who startles easily,

won’t enter rivers where families of geese teach
swimming from shale banks, gliding past pale fish

whose ripples are the biggest part of them.
Most of us sense where things come from,

where they go. We sun like skinks, listening to the plash
of creatures fording creeks. At some late hour,

I’ll lose my questions on the breeze, into trees
who build themselves from nothing, patiently.

My voice—which wasn’t in the world for many years
until it was—enjoys diminishment in darkening woods.

So much swells and shrinks again to sugar, echo, carbon.
Dark shapes rut and whet their horns. Lacy claws grip bark,

and diaphragms lurch over into croaks. Far off,
some plank or hunter’s shot reverberates,

propagating sawdust in this thicket of belief.
And we are safe in creaturehood, generating heat,

building a nest of filched morals for the breeding season,
which gathers in our navels’ roots like rain.



Cheyenne Taylor