we read over and over as children.
Now trees lie at angles, felled
by lightning, torn by tornados,
silvered trunks turning back
to earth. Late November light
cuts through the oaks in diagonals
as our small parade, father, mother, child,
shushes through, the wind searching treetops
for the last leaf. Childhood lies
on the forest floor, not evergreen
but oaken, its branches latched
to a graying sky. Here is the scarf
we left years ago like a bookmark,
meaning to return the next day,
having just turned our heads
toward a noise in the bushes,
toward the dinnerbell in the distance,
toward what we knew and did not know
we knew, in the spreading twilight
that returns changed to a changed place.
— Wyatt Townley
Wyatt Townley is a fourth-generation Kansan. Her work has appeared in journals ranging from The Paris Review to Newsweek. Books of poetry include The Breathing Field (Little, Brown), Perfectly Normal (The Smith), and her new collection, The Afterlives of Trees (Woodley), which she won a Master Fellowship from the Kansas Arts Commission to complete.