The Forest Was Destroyed by the Introduction of Grazing Goats

David Welch

The boy began searching the cypress tree and found nothing
so his audience asked whether he’d discovered how
the bald head of the cypress bows like an elderly lover
in the waning moments of winter
or how its leaves once turned as flat dials beneath the sun

In the waning moments of winter
the boy said     I have discovered only
the chipped map
of the lake which is dark

and flat as it is in winter     A lake is a dial said the audience
when it is turned back the clock of silt gears against the hands of the
          cypress
bedded down as near to water as they’re able
though they do not attempt     to tell time
or to drink     the boy said
So why do they take to the water

the boy said     is it to bow down like a lover to imagine
drinking from the spring running softly to the sea before it flattens
beneath the cold fact of the moon in winter
the audience said     the moon brings you to your feet
so you stand above the sea
like a cypress     it brings you to your feet
the boy said so you walk

and you must turn     you must
turn as     the horizon
never turns it reappears

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