They say you don’t remember the first couple months, but I can still sense them – full of warm wet kisses and cozy naps.
Everything changed when she stopped coming back.
No matter how much we pleaded, her spot remained empty.
The hollowness of my aching stomach spread to my heart as I understood she was never coming back.
All of our cries weakened gradually.
One by one my sisters and brothers stopped whining.
Long gone were the days of cozy naps and warm kisses.
My family was lost and our home was cold.
Not one of us still living has ever inhaled the sweetness of a honeysuckle or felt the strong, rough bark of an oak.
The ghosts of dirt grown things haunt our dreams, reminding us of what we’ve lost.
Legends tell of enormous swaths of trees and endless stretches of ripened food glimmering in gentle sunlight.
We all mourn deeply for the times we were born into.
Our wilted statures and shortened life spans taunt our waking hours.
Tales sing of those who lived to grow gray crowns and wear wisdom on their faces.
We all drift into the fantasies to remove ourselves from the stone bleak reality.
We try to imagine bees and butterflies, yet their tiny bodies and fragile wings escape us.
Tomorrow not one of us lives to write the last obituary.
Everyone goes into the forest to seek their tree.
Whether it is a coffin or door is a mystery to all.
Today is my day to walk into the forest.
Shall I bring food?
Or perhaps a death shroud?
Both grow heavier on my back with every step I take toward my uncertain future.
The cool, soft forest air soothes and ushers me onward.
My tree calls to me patiently.
Once near the gnarled, hard oak, I reach forth with gentle courage.