How would it be to spend seventeen years
in the blind silence of the dark?
How would one feel attached to a root,
drinking the sweet oak sap,
knowing only the warm drone of ecstasy,
the contentment of being full
and not having to change?

The sudden urge to move, to ascend;
parting the soil, drilling a perfectly round hole
in the clay and moss, up into daylight,
using eyes for the first time, experiencing weather
and hearing the polyphony of the world’s voice;
then continuing the ascent up a tree trunk,
a downspout, the leg of someone
who stands still long enough;
then buzzing in the branches, finding a mate, laying eggs,
and all in a fortnight in June.

What would mine be?
Perhaps I would attach myself
to the long corridor of the James River,
in the blind silence of the water.
One day I would ascend, climbing a sand bar,
the bank of clay and moss,
the root of a tree that stands still long enough,
to the low grounds, there to spend
a warm June fortnight in the sound of cicadas
and the smell of the honeysuckle.
It would make the seventeen years worth it.

June 15, 1996

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