You’re sitting cross-legged on the ground under a massive ash tree.
The monstrous size is so intimidating, so encompassing,
I am afraid it will gobble you up.
As I stride closer, you look very small. You don’t look up when I wave.
I’m not sure you even know I’m here.
I’ve been walking towards you for days now: maybe even weeks.
I’m never sure in these shadowy places,
but the invitation came when the ravens flew overhead at dusk.
As I approach, I can feel the sunlight shine me to translucence.
The last patch of my pink capris pops into nothingness.
You look as you did in photos when you were eight years old: chewing gum,
thin, straight brown hair sweeps to the left, clipped in a barrette.
You’re wearing a white, Sunday-best dress. Hours of ironing and starch
have stiffened the skirt so that it whispers when you move.
You look down at your lace-gloved hands in your lap. The lace is so white,
but the finger tips are soiled like you’ve been drawing in the dirt.
The earth is damp in places; an underground stream is flowing
beneath the roots of the tree.
Suddenly, you stand up, turn around,
and kneel down. “Piggy back ride, Holly?”
I hesitate, but since I’m invisible, I’m probably weightless.
I spring toward you and latch on like a golden spark,
clasp my hands together around your neck.
I melt into your skin, and then I’m seeing through your eyes.
“This is how to travel. This is how it’s done.”
You slide your hand along the slick trunk of the tree until it rests
on a knot the size of a heart, a fist. It warms to the temperature of a mug of tea.
You, we, step into the tree in the same way a person passes
from one room to the next.
A fountain in the midst of a park bubbles and chucks,
and I am given the impression of cherubs laughing.
Everything is so green--infused with peace and replete with cool.
“It just looks like heaven,” you say aloud, and I can feel
a sharp pain sear your shoulder blade. “There are still problems
here-- but with a lot more solutions.”
“Why don’t you grow wings?” I ask,
and you flame into feather.