The Mud Softer Than Ivory

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The Mud Softer Than Ivory

There is a forest that I return to 
when I can’t get away from the pulsations
of thinking. A forest of tombs as still 
as dead tree trunks and melodious as raindrops
on red pine needles. The paths of my ancestors.

In this forest, I am not alive like I usually am. 
Stepping in mink tracks, I know this place in
my tendons like a ghost knows the temperature of
fog. Here, the Independence River runs like a lovely
ribbon until it pounds into a ravine of crumbling shale.

And I know that old hunger returning from vanished glaciers. 
In this forest, my arms, as I meander, wave like prayer flags
hung out to the ragged border between life and death- a place
where I can survive outside the womb. A place where I can become a wilderness dancer touching the mud softer than ivory.

George Cassidy Payne is a poet from Rochester, NY. His work has been included in such publications as the Hazmat Review, Moria Poetry Journal, Chronogram Journal, Ampersand Literary Review, the Angle at St. John Fisher College, and 3:16 Journal. George’s blogs, essays and letters have appeared in the USA Today, Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, the Havana Times, the South China Morning Post, the Buffalo News, and more. 

See all his poems on Tea House here.

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