The Breathing of Trees

This poem gives witness

to the respiration of the forest,

exhalations of cypress and pine,

that rise after the rainstorm

to the mottled gray sky

in time with my own breath.


These upliftings of small clouds,

plumes of mist, return,

scented with evergreen,

to the source,

like salmon leaping fish ladders,

ignorant of gravity, logic, death,

believing only in resurrection.


The tips of the mist dissipate

into lizard tails, spun sugar,

then threads, masks,

patterns that defy interpretation.

These are the words the trees speak,

the secret language I strain to hear.


Paul Totah


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