When I ignite into the clearing
looking for God, where else would I go? Knife me open, saw-toothed canopy of spruce & twisted pine. Spread me sprawling where you blade blue sky. Catch me fire, reams of lupine, loosestrife, foxtail, wigs of timothy grass. Where aspen, oak & maple spill coins that clash in hoof-stamped stalls of sky. How a leaf unwraps the torch of itself, a thumb without a flame. What makes the mind of creek water blush, peacocking yards & yards of silk? I hear the bones of elders scrape: holy ghosts rattling a porch swing. How what’s given gets taken: pad footed fox, mounted in the crotch of a hemlock, head & tail slashed off, rumpled blaze uncrackles. How the gun-pocked deer fly up, leaking molten stars, the sky a frieze of shell-shocked light. In the valley of my eyes all day long, trees flex & feather, how they rock, how they fumble, how they love. —Listen: open mouthed meadows, ripe & rare--in these wilds my raw peels open, skin unjackets, I hear hungry gods exclaim. Wild woods, you hand me pulsing heart, handcuffed to halo of hermit thrush song.
Juanita Smart finds nourishment and joy in the company of other writers and nature lovers. She drafts some of her best ideas for poems while exploring local Pennsylvania game lands with her galumphing dogs, Gabe and Wilson.