Rotting Log


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  • Rotten fallen tree detail in wild forest



I saw the future

In a rotted log

The withered, ashen-laced edges of dried barnacles

On upward curling slabs of stiff, dried bark

Stopped me, for a moment

Before I peeked into the black

And sepia network of interlocked strands of wood fiber

Both totally dry and totally wet

That crumbles to the slightest touch

To reveal bright orange jellies

Brilliant little spheres

Clumped and ripening

Gorging on decay and darkness

Cozy in the rot and waiting for two years

For exact the right time

To spill out their hard-shelled jewels

The hungry, horned stag beetles

Into the forest floor

Which they will gobble up and collapse into clean black earth

Just as they will be gobbled up and collapsed into clean black earth

By birds, the lizards, the snakes, the toads, the raccoons,

The centipedes, the weasels, the skunks.

Gravity deep in the earth takes

And we give,

Collapse into clean black holes in the ground

Until gravity can’t stand the heat,

Just can’t contain the brilliance any longer,

And gives us back up.

Wendy Insinger, Warwick NY




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