What Grows After a Forest Fire

Julia 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”?