Forest of Beginnings

by Mai Der Vang

Mai Der Vang

Even the sky knows not
to make promises of water,

and the air knows not to dream
the onset of rain.

Even the animal
who forgets the touch

of a distant liquid cold
waits without knowing.

Earth is picking up her bones.

Earth is tucking in her babies.

Sleep well, little loves,
sleep as you’ve never slept

so you may wake
as you’ve never woke.

This is the earth that chants.

This is the earth that grows
teeth in the storm.

This is the earth voicing
each twig and leaf,

every stem
and stone.

This is the earth that opens like a room.

The ground sleeps through another
season of drought.

The land burrows further into exile,
sinking upward,
heaven to the ground,

where bodies of hemlock and pine,
cedar and fir,

no longer cast old roots but
tiptoe their arms

around shrubs and metal stakes.

Still, the land gives, the field grows,
and the harvest enters
when it is called.

Flora of these hills and meadows

are all but springing their desires
under the rising moon.

Leaves tended
by hands that tended leaves
from another mountain

on another shore
in another war.

War made by hands of another
for ownership of

the mountain before
leaving to new shores.

I did not know when I birthed you
that flight had been etched
on our tongues.

I did not know the jungle would
take us
far from our home,

bring us to California with
visions of new dirt and

the brightest green in our blood.

Last updated October 30, 2022