Muir Woods, a poem
The eye is drawn, farther and farther
toward thin blue sky until the green feathery
tops of the trees are like the northern pole
on some dream planet. Your carsickness
from the ride up the mountain begins to fade,
leaving behind a breathless, weepy echo
not unlike your first religious fervor.
Then, you stared at Jesus’ sad face for hours,
wondering what it was that made him
love you. Here, it is the usual paralysis,
nerves made dumb by the unaccustomed
richness of perfect light. Vague, starry eyes
like yours feel at home. The air is weighty,
burdensome, solemn. Tall and slender, your guide
touches your wrist, and for a moment, you too
want to leave the surface of the earth
forever. Shyly, she picks up a tiny
pinecone, smaller than a toy. You laugh
when she tells you this is their seed:
all around, their ravaged, hollow
corpses litter the ground
like the bones of God.
In this place you feel helpless,
childlike, and you can understand a wish
to die here, never leave this hush.
They’re only trees, you tell yourself.
Yes, only trees, you think, standing still with
your neck bent back; wondering if they hear you.