Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Forest with Corners

Forest with Corners

By Joel Toledo

I called to it, displayed
readiness. I carried nothing

but my hands. A twig
for every stalk. Each snap

a tune in wait, a way
in. If sadness were

a commitment, trees
attest to its song.

A leaf quivers in anger
because wind makes it

brittle. Yet it cannot fell
the trunk. Storms live

inside this arrangement.
To study organisms is

to let them be and exit
unscathed. Passing through

is to return wounded,
involved. Now tarries

a whorl, a circle to scrutinize
if to layer age, exact

measure. There’s
a crack in my shadow,

a stagger drawn out 
by light. All these

revelations are lies,
just cost, just cause  

the woods would not
console, bugs balance 

on protruding roots
and I must manage

with this limp


Joel  M. Toledo

Joel M. Toledo has authored three books of poetry, most recently Ruins and Reconstructions. He co-edited Caracoa 2006 and Under The Storm: An Anthology of Contemporary Philippine Poetry. Among his numerous awards for poetry are two Palanca Memorial Awards, the Philippines Free Press Literary Prize, the Meritage Press Poetry Prize, and the Bridport Prize for Poetry.

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