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‘Heal, heal’, they say, but

how long does it take a forest

to recover from wildfire?

80 years and longer.

Meanwhile, the forest floor breathes;

she finally sees

the silken sheets of sunlight

fanning her a breeze;

the nutrients from dead trees nourish

her soil like the puckered beaks

of mother birds offering up slain worms

for their hungry chicks;

pinecones throw open like maidens in heat;

wind-swept seedlings put out rainbow shoots;

hollyhocks rise from the ashes

like Cappadocian hot air balloons;

the charred remains of tree trunks,

proud like gothic castles,

provide shelter for the two-winged, the six-legged,

the squirrel and mink who make

their homes in hollow bark.

The wound gives.

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