‘Whistling Trees and Ironwood’, Hester J. Rook

Illustration © 2020 Carmen Moran

 [ The Valley, © 2020 Carmen Moran ] Quiverful, her
limbs weave like casuarinas
endless and tensing, releasing—
a constant sway in the sky-topped breeze.
Song-struck and shifting,
twists of riverwater wend her
the sun a leaf-rimmed crown.

Down, here in the valley
I am laced with dustings of rain
my tongue thick with acacia,
wind taut through the bow of my lips.
I open myself up, and naked
in the mossdrunk canyon, I unfurl
so that only the land may see me breathe.

Spearing down my throat
the frost blooms new beginnings
clench and exhale until
every thought is fresh and new,
new and tree-coursed,
spring growth green, unfolding.

Above: my she-oak girl, everchanging
and earth-scent. My feet steady
deep in her needle soft banks
and I am tipped upward, cloud-turned;
I did not know the sense of endless limbs
til I reached to press my mouth to hers.

I am still tethered by twine of curl
by long-fingered hands
by the cry of honeyeaters, the fan
of blue rosella feathers in my fist.
She exhales blooms against me
so my teeth become pollen-yellow
bulbs of blossom tucked under my tongue.

In this way I vow
suspended between dirt and air
I taste the mountain and
breathe deep its sweet-
sharp sigh.

© 2020 Hester J. Rook

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