After

90 total words    

<1 minutes of reading

There among the silences

find the ghost tree—

the split black branches making

fissures in the clearing.

Watch as the fog dresses

and undresses the wounds,

the suppuration of bark,

so raw underneath.

The birds can find

no purchase.

Scavenge the esker,

make a circle of stones,

kneel down wreathed in

feather and bracken.

Prepare to knit yourself

back into the world.

Reprinted from Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations, Vol. 5: Practice.

“After” was originally published in Heather Swan, A Kinship with Ash (West Caldwell, NJ: Terrapin Books, 2020).

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  • Heather Swan

    Heather Swan’s book Where Honeybees Thrive: Stories from the Field was released in the fall of 2017 from Penn State Press and was awarded the 2018 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award. Her nonfiction has appeared in Aeon, ISLE, Resilience, Edge Effectsand About Place Journal.

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