Somewhere in the national forest,
there is a coffin tree for each of us,
chosen at birth, containing us
completely, even in its youngest seedling.
If we keep no one left to love, to love us,
to cut it down, to afford it
carved to order, we will wander,
the flower bridge, the light-rail route,
the geopark lot, unclean ghosts
the clouded blue of our deepening cataracts.
What’s left of us, children moved to city,
smudged air of our once bodies, is holding,
exhausted, the village brinkline of trees
from the road, disappearing as the mist
that beads us shape burns off at dawn.
There is a difference between fire shaped
like a horse and a horse made of fire.
First appeared in Fou. Reprinted with permission from Adam Fell.
Adam Fell’s first book I Am Not A Pioneer will be published by H_NGM_N Books in February 2011. His chapbook “Ten Keys to Being a Champion On and Off the Field” was published by H_NGM_N Books in early 2010; a free pdf version is here: . His poems have appeared in Tin House; Forklift, Ohio; Diagram; Crazyhorse; notnostrums; Sixth Finch; & Fou; among others. He lives in Madison, WI, where he co-curates the Monsters of Poetry Reading Series and teaches at Edgewood College.
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University of Wisconsin-Madison Creative Writing Program