As shadows swarmed around the woodcutter,
he tried to recall the little things, those that had seemed
so clear, so important, that morning when
he had stamped his way past the trees. He squinted
into the darkness, searching his misty mind.
Where had he come from? Where was he going?
But the way home was lost to him now, and he,
having forgotten what it was for, had dropped
his axe some time ago. Fruitless, he gave up
remembering, and settled to surveying the
twirl of the squirrels’ amorous embraces, to smell the
toadstool-kissed, decaying trunks, to heed the
sound of the salmon fry emerging in the quick, cold water.
At times he felt the forest pulse, pressing
him forward, so he went. His skin, weathered by decades
of forgotten storms and suns, became buttery;
beneath harsh wrinkles formed smooth rolls of fat.
He wiggled his toes, which seemed somehow closer, as
still the limbs pushed the little woodcutter
onward, where a growing light shimmered, summoning.
The air was thicker here; it coagulated
in his lungs until he almost choked when the very forest
floor bent itself to throw him forward; he hurtled
past spruce and moss and stream until at last
he emerged into the heavy glow. He blinked. He wept.
(Updated 3/27/09, pm)