Forest Floor

Every summer we'd drag
a canoe into the Delaware
to watch the carp
leap and arch
and sink, then walk
trails cut into the forest floor.
Doris and I tramped ahead
with tooth-sized frogs,
stands of fluorescent mushrooms.
Kicked into sheaves
of leaves, tamped them down
with our waiting.
Let the blue-bodied bottle
flies settle.

Didn't the shade
press in, shimmering, sharp?
Wasn't grief stuffed
into the marrow
of each trunk? But wasn't
the trunk sugared in joy?
All of it was too alive
with gorged bees and
anxious seeds.

We walked through with a bright
frog of color at the corner
of each eye, on our way to
the flattened edge of the earth.