Woods Outside Cleveland,Ohio
I hop the creek and see in ten steps
that it was half the creek and I’m on an island
made of the same shale and soil as the land around,
with the same hemlock trees and geraniums,
near its barely highest point
one beech shading an ironwood,
but the light here is denser,
maybe because more dragonflies
hover and cruise among the trunks.
The birdcalls’ intervals are calmer,
maybe because nothing’s in them but water.
Maybe because no one ever fought on this ground.
Maybe no one ever was born or died here.
Maybe everyone ever here was alone,
or two alone together.
Maybe a child of the Assistaeronon, the Fire Nation,
said good-bye to these hemlocks’ parents
not knowing where the people were going or why,
as no one knows now.
- © Gerald Friedman 2021
Gerald Friedman grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, and now teaches physics at Santa Fe Community College in New Mexico. His poetry has appeared in various magazines, recently Panoply, Entropy, Bombfire, Rat's Ass Review, and The Daily Drunk.