by Mary Redman
(after Spring and Fall by Gerard Manley Hopkins)
We entered Yellowstone, and you gaped
at charred tree trunks,
where acre after acre of still-scarred land
had burned six years before.
At eleven-years-old, you cursed a God
who would allow such devastation.
We tried to ply you with park displays
about fire as part of the natural cycle,
but you dismissed the logic
of dormant seeds and fireweed thriving
in places once shaded by pines.
You fought with your brother and sister,
refused to pose for pictures at Old Faithful
or the Lodge. That night as dark seeped
into our cabin, I heard your soft sobs
before you drifted to sleep, and I read
the depth of your cavernous conclusion,
your dawning awareness that all of us,
like the grand trees, mountains, and rivers
would descend to that nadir on the wheel
of existence. You wept that night for you.
Mary Redman is a retired high school English teacher who currently works part time supervising student teachers for University of Indianapolis and volunteers as a docent at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. She has had poems published in Bangor Literary Journal, Flying Island, Nine Cloud Journal, Northwest Indiana Literary Review, Snapdragon: a Journal of Healing, Tipton Poetry Journal, and So It Goes and others. One of her poems received a Pushcart nomination in 2019.