Two Poems by Kim Mannix

View of forest from inside a camping tent
Photo by Scott Goodwill on Unsplash

Forest Bathing When You’re Dirty

Because there are too many shadows in the trees
Carrie answers, keeping feet firm to the path
set here like a rule made mid-game. Wildflowers I wish I could name
but in so doing they’d become tamer, disappointing. I thought I would find
a solution here. Which is not the same as an answer.

Someone has stuck a red push pin in the bark of a pine and I think
of the flier that might’ve been attached — Live a trauma-free life,
it would demand in ink rain-pocked and faded, flapping in the wind,
fringed at the bottom with tearaway numbers for a self-help class.
But help is inside out like a sweater chucked off
in frustration or passion, hanging off the edge of an IKEA dresser.

Most mornings I want to wake up by a river no matter how far
or close you are to me. Is this the problem, or the solution? Carrie said
a little nature would do me good, which sounded salacious at the time.
Do me good, woods. Please. I’m begging. There are birds
speaking holy tongues if I’m brave enough to accept
exaltation. I ask Carrie why we can’t wander a little farther
but her answer doesn’t do anyone good.


First Night in Jasper

This is a new dark
and though I prepared for stars,
I’m still caught with something like wonder
sticking its bony finger in my fat dread.

It’s like a pocket place you said about the campsite,
just this afternoon, pulling sleeping bags
from the back of the car. I looked all
the way up, to where the trees jabbed
the sky. Almost forgot the hollowness
we left five hours back. 

I didn’t hear it then, but the river thrums,
even this far from the edge. Like, darkness
cups the sound, forces us to take turns
holding it. Maybe from now on.

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