written by: Carl Parsons
This year—old, damp, and cold—descends
among hills left for dead by hunters,
long since silent to the crack of other
sounds than limbs falling where black water bends
and ruins decay on the rooted woodland floor.
Liverwort and moss conquer what falls,
their silent wet green fires consuming all
the limbs. Their waiting reaches more
than rifles can of humid breath.
Asleep, old trees break in deep December storms;
their scattered limbs by morning
can be found laid out for death.
A winter wetness covers them before
a smoke can rise. These ends have other means
than fire, for here a dying water cleans
the leavings from the humus floor.
Born in warmth, each in this cold ends—
all limbs that grow, all that hunters leave—
this year now takes them all without reprieve;
this year—old, damp, and cold—descends.
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