When you sat at the base of the tree,
in the time before time, the spirits
stretched form into being. You
laughed, grandfather, leaned your
wrinkled head back and laughed.
At the door posts of villages, in the
great clearings, your nakedness bulged.
Did young women blush to see you
as they danced for your gifts? Dancing,
their strong feet packing the earth,
the ground rumbled with growth. Your
laughter awakened seeds newly shaken,
in the new world, bereft of form, the
Still you laugh, salt stinging the mix.
The great forgetting smarts like a blow.
This world is a small place
a great tree
candy for sweetness, for the gifts of
sugar; rum to warm the swollen bed
of spirit; keys for doors that swing
on many hinges.
You ask for my throat in song,
a twist of tobacco,
three calls before
falling silent. At your cane,
I cup my hands at the base
and whisper your name:
again, again, again.
[Alicia Cole lives in Lawrenceville, GA, with a photographer, their cat Hatshepsut, and two schools of fish. She enjoys birdwatching, divination, and listening to the wind. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in multiple print and online journals, most recently or forthcoming in Paper Crow,Star*Line, Goblin Fruit, Abyss & Apex and Aoife’s Kiss. She keeps ajournal.]