I leave the trail, cut through the woods,
and come to a bright clearing,
its long grass luminous with dew
and steaming—and everywhere, between
the trees and bushes, spider webs,
staring like weird translucent eyes
(the spiders are the pupils).

A rotten tree trunk waves a flag
of mist as thick as smoke.
Lichen, the gray snow of decay,
splotches the scraggly branches
of dead spruces. And a few
dying maples and birches lean.
It’s all barely held together

by this secret structure that the dew
reveals, the otherwise invisible
threads that pull the foliage back
to make this opening. Break one
and the whole thing could collapse.
All eyes are on me.
I must be careful walking through.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 7 Number 1, on page 44
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