The forest has changed over time.
It’s been years since
I have been so deep into the trees
and though the leaves still whisper
in the same way that they always did.
They are not tar black like they were before,
but dark green. I stand in the trees
and I wonder how I can find myself here
after so long. I look around at the trees,
remnants of tar and blood they took from me
littering the forest floor. I look into the leaves,
into the depth of the trees,
waiting to hear the creatures that dwelled within.
All I can hear is silence
underneath the sound of my breathing
and the beating of my heart.
I realize that I had never really left it behind,
that the dark forest was always there.
No matter how much I try to outrun it,
or deny its existence,
The dark forest is always within me.
Rather than be frightened by the trees,
I reach out to touch the leaves.
The trees all around me let out a sound
very much like a sigh of longing.
I feel it within me, as if I am accepting
a part of myself that I had shunned
when all it wanted was some kind of affection.
Looking at the forest around me,
I can see blood and shadow,
growth and light,
all held within a gorgeous balance
of air, earth and soil and light.
I expect to hear the sounds of ghosts,
waiting to pull me deeper into the trees,
but all I can hear
are the songs of birds
as they call to me and if I stop to listen,
I can almost make out what they
are trying to say.
I let my hands reach out on either side
of myself and touch the leaves
and I can feel that touch within myself.
When I get to the border of the forest,
knowing that this will not be goodbye.
I’m okay with that and I’m no longer afraid
of what waits within.