What Grows After a Forest FireJulia Rox
in the mornings i put my ear to the ground
to listen for the sound of the aspens
in northern Kentucky.
the aspens don’t talk to me anymore but
some days i can hear them laughing,
their saw teeth raking against each
other in the open light.
are you listening to me?
when i call you on the phone i sit on different
pieces of furniture. the
the kitchen table is uncomfortable
but i sit there the most.
even when you ask “how’s the weather out there?”
it sounds like a soft apology,
indulgences to the earth
for the ashes you didn’t scatter.
when we talk i
imagine you sitting in the green chair
in the dining room where the
ghosts of my furniture still host dinner parties.
i can hear the aspens in the background.
i tell you to tell them to return my calls.
even baby teeth can draw blood but
we still throw them away.
you told me there was value in forgetting so
if i pull out all my teeth and hang them from
the branches in your front yard would
the aspens talk to me then? would they say
“darling i can forgive you, but i won’t forget”?
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