The Erstwhile Forests
The match flame held above what was
first briar root, Mediterranean, then
artisan’s block to carve a parabola
for a pipe to fit a palm –
burning across the horizon line
I lower to chopped, cured leaves
and follow round the rim of the bowl,
as I breathe rapidly through the amber stem,
exhaling from a harvest of leaves,
large, dusty leaves casting shadows
once over red clay furrows in July,
leaves cut, bundled in a warehouse,
leaves blessed by the auctioneer
moving among them, calling out
a foreign language of peppered rhythms,
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