I was too aware of my freedom—
the taste of summer in my mouth,
and sun on my nakedness.
I did not recognize that same light
when he rose to meet me.
Or did I? Is that why I ran?
Woods of wild hair and bare limbs
a man could get lost in,
I hated the idea of being caught—
of ending the hunt.
He was too bright to look at.
When he approached,
I bolted like a shadow,
even when I wanted to turn and be taken.
reaching for me,
burned my back as I ran.
I don’t know why I called for my father—
to save me from ecstasy.
Or why I wanted the river
to rise up and swallow my body
rather than risk loving.
Was it when the scream left my lips—
and my skin became wood—
Or when my hair curled into leaves
as my feet sank into soil?
No. As the bark closed my eyes
I knew my mistake. I saw his face.
This is what I have never told:
When his arms flew around my waist,
as it turned to trunk,
something sharp in my center
cracked like a twig at his touch.
Published by Aldrich Publishing