- The Ross Giant Cedars
Bead lilies amidst the ferns. Water trickling through the moss. Until now, they have lived their whole lives without us. In the slot of light the mountains left for them. A wooden cabinet with scented drawers. A pool of land at the bottom of the familiar. They are as large as a giant’s work boot, a Salish canoe for twenty-six, though it could not fit in these multiple streams but needs the ocean. We gaze up through the boughs as one does through the openwork crochet of sleep, the feather costumes both world and dream try on. I read that Joyce could survive having schizophrenia, while his daughter could not, because he was a genius. There was room for every voice. His genius, he could assign a role to each of them. The cedars whisper and cough, always gruff, but in subterranean communication with each other. Five hundred years they have been living, the grove much older still. Huge pumps forcing rain four stories up. To get lost would be easy, is part of the tale, and we almost do, with no signage and no memory of the loop we’ve taken. [End Page 113]
Melissa Kwasny is the author of four books of poetry, most recently The Nine Senses (Milkweed Editions). Her collection of essays is Earth Recitals: Essays on Image and Vision (Lynx House P). She lives in western Montana.