Germinate — Adria West

I become lost on a small path leading

to a group of trees with snarled, protruding roots

sated by slivers of sun on flat rock.

My eyes outline the forms of emerald

ferns, pale mushrooms bubbling

on soft bark. I feel the trunk beneath my palms

like an immense beast of old—bowed,

allowing for touch.


It all allows me here, does not try to alter

what I have always been. Echoes of past selves

move with me, contained universes like flies

in amber prisons. I reconnect with the creature

that creeps through the undergrowth. I glide

my bare feet on silky moss, suddenly the child again—

nested inside the woman,

learning to shed old plumage, find the talons

beneath the down—

unearthing everything, no longer afraid.


Sweet sting of the pines in my nose, slow breaths

as I sip elderflower liquor from a flask. Warmth

blooms in dewy campsite morning. I become

everything I ever was all over again. Progression

to germination. I come back to this

untouched, untroubled place, disappear

in the webwork of branches—

footfalls of unseen things.


Life lived rootless, craving connection,

jealous of the way fungi know how to move as one—

effortlessly doing what we can’t do. It all tells me

what I already know: there are pieces

of me growing under all these stones,

if only I can bear to turn them over.