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New American Forest

This is the new American forest.

You seduce me with the food you gather,

I seduce you with the food I gather.

We don’t waste. What we are building

benefits from each choice piece

as well as from each salvageable piece.

We’ve come here through the groves

of hemlock dying with pests.

We walk through the standing dead into living trees,

through the forest and farther until we reach the stream.

We follow as it gathers. We walk to the falls.

We were mad to be in contact with each other.

Now we are in contact with each other.

We are in contact with branches and leaves,

air, sun, with the darkness at night.

As we walk the narrowing trails,

pushing back thorny branches,

everything becomes denser, darker, more in the middle,

less beginning, less end, more lost clung together,

more rising on wobbly legs.

We slept in the open at first,

now we make a place for ourselves where we go.

I know that I could swell with you, but

you could also swell with me.

Look, we’ve actually become thinner together,

taking what we need, saving even more.

from Having Been an AccompliceFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2011
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

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This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.