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    brown and blueish dead wood

    The Dead Breed Beauty

    By Richard Spilman

    April 26, 2019
    • Becki Hawkins

      Beautiful 🙏

    Today, a falcon cruising above the river.
    Dippers, pure grey, about the size of a dove,
    splashing in and out of the water in bursts,
    doing knee bends as they feed at the shoreline.
    Bushtits in the brush, dull and hyperactive.
    Farther in, the birds disappear, the canopy
    crowds light into odd corners, and life
    becomes a rustle of leaves at my feet.

    In one of the campsites, a very old spruce
    split by lightning halfway up but still living –
    from the black scar downward a slug of bark
    the size of a Jeep has fallen on three points,
    a swooning tripod sculpture half buried
    in muck. Campers offer their customary
    reverence, cutting chunks for tinder.
    Bright tents swell like fungi on the moss.

    Strange the human-like gestures of dying
    trees, clinging epiphytes, vines along
    the riverbank. A cottonwood, roots exposed,
    dances; branches laden with epiphytes
    suggest women drying their hair. Here
    everything climbs at someone’s expense
    and the dead breed beauty. We savor it
    like tramps around a barrel of fire.

    brown and blueish dead wood

    Photo by Bruno Ramos Lara

    Contributed By RichardSpillman

    Richard Spilman lives in Hurricane, West Virginia. He is the author of In the Night Speaking and of a chapbook, Suspension. His poetry has appeared in many magazines, including Poetry, The Southern Review, Western Humanities Review, and New Letters.

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