All Earth is Dull and Muddy

your body is still your body,

even though they took

everything from you,

like the famished hare

who pulls even the bitterer berries

from the wilted stem.

 

they came easily, jarringly,

and pried everything that you carried

from your tired, trembling arms

while the assorted leaves were

making their slow descent;

or while they went moldering

from green to that quiet blaze

before dismemberment or rot;

or while they succumbed

to their crushing, to a grinding down,

like the fronds falling suddenly,

pressed flat and silent

under the buck’s fierce footfall

he did not see them,

he did not care,

their delicate fibers

were not of his concern.

and why would he look away

from the horizon’s early smoke?

they were flattened, twisted and gnarled

for the rest of their short life

while the unmarred fronds grew

strong and straight and long

around them.

 

is there a resilience

that can be learned?

the carnivorous heron

holds wide its wings

to hunt. the false shade

a canopy of disaster

for its tired prey.

when the southerly wind

tears its wild way around the orb

you too will understand how

the heronshaw differs

from the hungrier hawk.

 

by Alani Rosa Hicks-Bartlett

 

Alani Rosa Hicks-Bartlett is a writer and translator from the SF Bay Area. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in Apricity, The Stillwater Review, IthacaLit, Gathering Storm, Broad River Review, ellipsis…literature & art, The Fourth River, Mantis: A Journal of Poetry, Criticism, and Translation, and others. She twice received the UC Berkeley Dorothy Rosenberg Memorial Prize in Lyric Poetry for her poems “Song of Advice or Valediction” and “second lament,” and the Emily Chamberlain Cook Prize in Poetry for her poem “The Haunting.” Alani is currently working on a novel set in Portugal, many translations, and a collection of villanelles. You can find her at Twitter and Instagram at @AlaniRosa.

Leave a Reply