Poetry by Sophia Mautz
I remember hearing the crackle of your boots
hitting the bodies of charred logs,
splitting open wild bones.
I could try, but my feet were big as leaves then
and I had little effect, though one day I’d come back
without you and I would split open too.
You fingered the Indian paintbrush
and tried to find flowers
I didn’t already know.
I remember hearing the Aspen trees breathe as they
arched over us like frozen fingers
and we got tangled in the deepness.
While I pulled at the purple children of blackberry bushes,
you cut mushrooms from the rainy ground for grandma’s soup
and told me not to wander too far, handing me a tin bucket
.to fill with whatever beauty I could scrounge.
Standing here ten years later, I remember your brown hand,
speckled short nails. I remember the flowers –
filmy and breakable.
Now I’ve replaced the rain in watering the soil,
the mushrooms wait patiently to be cut from their roots
and I don’t want to tell them that you will not come.
I am ribs pried open, fingers stained purple
trying to distinguish what is most beautiful in life:
the red fountains of Indian paintbrush,
or my hand,