There is no map to this forest/ yet I stand at her edge/ where leaves are hands/ brushing against skin/ as I whisper my way/ past nettle-bush/ hemlock/
the English yew/ but she is silence/ thick & loud/ a rising pressure/ the further in
I roam/ but I know nature prizes those who choose to endure.

The dens left abandoned/ along her pathways/ although skeletal & rotten/ do not warn me off/ rather/ welcome me in/ for there must have been heat here – wildfire/ except now/ all is ash & cut-root/ stigmata of those before / those who have left their mark/ cicatrix upon the skin of birch & oak.

I read these clues & continue/ feel myself get close/ hear whispers slip through
the canopy/ hinting that this shadowed woodland/ could soon turn to glade – honeysuckle/ bluebell/ foxglove/ where for once/ the dark won’t draw in/
& the presence of man won’t be too much/ or too soon/ where I won’t be forced out/ as she wraps herself/ under the quilt of night/ leaving me/ to the glare
of streetlamp/ & the long drive home.
Liam Porter is a poet and writer from Wirral, England. A number of his poems and stories have been published in collections such as Love In Bloom and Independent Variable. He was editor of the sixteenth edition of In The Red, a Liverpool-based literary magazine. His favourite word is balloon.

Liam’s site can be found here.

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