(an address to the ones whose shadows bear me
nameless, broken, in love,
toward the sleep of waters, a styx
where I shall always be known . . .)

oh you gentle beings, stable with sap
that draws slowly from terra mysterium
its affair with life,
phloem that rushes at snailspace
to the tips of a billion fingers,
leaf-blood wrapped in veils of bark

oh you songsome beings, towers
to the talkative creatures, homes
to those whose moments ever wander
in your lush umbrage, day
and night, your spread a bedding
for the limbs of faeries

I know I could never count
the volume of your voices, nor could ever learn
the number of notes
whose breaths your cells capture
to unweave welcomes
when the savvy ones come to rest

I know you are sages
with gnarled tongues I stretch for, but can’t,
that remembers what dignity
really means
and passes its grace back to sky
after our deaths
and births have arrived

as you live for the world, and breathe
for us, in us,

let us
move around your bodies like
faithful pilgrims, servants
circling with candles the rings
of your planets
on a voyage toward something
whose supple touch is but an
eirenic wind,
lost beneath a hummingbird’s wings


©  J. Celan Smith