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January 2014, vol 9, no 4

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Jonathan Humphrey

By Gravity Or Squirrel

There is a boulder I know in Wolfe County, Kentucky. She is covered with moss and young rhododendron and is the size of a two-story house. I have used her roof to view the moon, to sleep above bobcat vomit and sharp brush. Together, in September dusk, we reached a bright sphere clinging to an adjacent pine. The woodpecker’s skull was cracked, its inner darkness seeping through the fracture, which ran from eye socket to crown. Its beak was caught in the young tree’s wood. A polished persistence, distilled, then severed from body by gravity or squirrel. I removed it as one would twist a doorknob and left it for a moon’s toy. I have never seen such brightness. It lit my path out of the gorge.

aligning themselves
tall pines
in taller moonlight