Bigfoot Dreams of Home

Behind the grocery dumpster, my foot
slips into a sticky stupor.  I watch
from a distance as hands pry a wooden
stump loose from its moorings, yet
when I count the growth rings, no
clear-cut springs with sprigs & leaves

& needles, no revelation leaves
the lot chiming, no alarm sounds, no foot-
step kick-starts a forest no
mind could design.  There is no one to watch
this unhappen, no witness who will yet
say what he did not see: a burl of wood

&  mouth & ear.   Would
that it were easy to leave
the ruins to the past … yet
without roots, what remains? Vile foot-
holds & vistas on which to watch
boles become strands.  Who knows

where this will lead?  I no
longer wonder & wear the woods.
I stumble & smolder & watch
wilderness zoned into redacted leaves
& grids.  I coordinate foot-
notes to file where I slept & shat, yet

I wear this recessed crown I have yet
to cleave to canopy  no
memory can resolve. One foot
in a strip mall, the other in a plywood
glade: “Will work for food, for leaves
& salmon streams, for the chance to watch

the center in its turning.”  I don’t want to watch
progress at work, a future that will yet
be built, a calendar that will leaf
pin-up ballot initiatives.  Who knows.
It may already be decided.  I would
have liked to have put my best foot

forward, yet in the end, if it’s the end that leaves
me here, I’ll watch from the flames, one blackened foot
held high above the would-be no.

[Matthew Woodman teaches composition and literature at California State University, Bakersfield.]

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