I love the snake I disturb in my garden,
but he is not interested in communion.
There are blue salamanders in the woods,
mosses and lichen, beetles, toads and frogs,
and I know they are out there, living out
the small cycles of their lives. The oaks are
crowded here, but they are at ease with the
hickory. I think of thinning the forest
and almost hear the sigh of loss from my
trees. They are happy, though each is striving
for the sunlight. I know there are angels
for the trees, spirits that resonate in
birch, beech, aspen, cedar, pine, fir, hawthorn,
chokecherry, pulsing through the earth and so
it follows that even in bonsai trees
that spirit would have an echo. Does it
hurt to be made so very small? I long
for adventure but live my life in small
circles of routine. There are many ways
to snip the roots, bind with wire, and there
is little slippage from the track of days.
The garter snake hunts for slugs, for frog eggs,
and when he is ready, he sheds his skin.
Maryam Barrie, lives in an Oak and Hickory woods outside Dexter, Michigan. She teaches at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Michigan. To Live in This Dark World is her first chapbook. Her work has appeared in The Huron River Review, Belle Ombre, and The Catamaran Literary Review. Her favorite writers are Lucia Berlin and Jane Kenyon.