Beleaguered : Joanna Lilley


She stays below the tree line

to be unseen among the crowded saplings,

spruces, firs. She’d planned to hike,

invisibly, the breadth of the boreal biome

west to east, from her makeshift

Beringian home to a shielded shore.

She hasn’t left yet, though.

She even bought a house and paid

for a divorce. She’s calculating

how many moments in this synergetic forest

are reduced in rapture by each mosquito

that yaws towards her neck, by every plump,

green larvae swinging on white silk towards

her cheek. She’s still too human.

For every flower she learns,

she forgets two birds. She’s leaving

one day. She knows too many people now

and more are always coming.

The newcomers are especially fatiguing.

They pluck, pickle, build, run, ultra,

shoot, according to the season. She feels

the ricochets as she sits on a fallen log

to give the dog more woodland time.

While everyone is doing, she undoes.

First the clinging fingers of the earnest ex,

then an employer or two. She’s waterproofed

her boots and tightened her trekking pole.

The dog can come but no one else.