For Emily Dickinson by Vincent Hostak

So take me to the greenwood-
I want to know it all.
The story of the understory.
How you woke beneath a green canopy
and stood on a soft mound of wood-waste.
Read words that sounded like vows
extracted from oak leaves
you’d later press into a folio.

Then take me to the meadow
where, were I in miniature,
could climb a crocus
to find the sacred insects there.
Comb through pollen froth
and count the hustling legs of bees.
Tell me how everything quivers heavenward-
bursting up from clay in coils:
the beetle or the bellflower,
unfolding sightless, dew drenched,
eating heat, sweating sugar through their days-
then baking dry and tawny as wolf lint.
None rising ever expected
to be shredded by the sparrows
as midden for nest beds
or to drift and tether to a tree trunk.
Chant from this secret songbook
pecked in slanted script- those dashes,
those measures on chocolate wrappers
or cleaved on yellow parchment.
Sing to me from all the scraps
that were never fed to the fire.

Published: Sonder Midwest, Issue V, Erica Eastland, Editor)