I heard when she followed
some path decided on
into the woods
berries jumped down her mouth
as frogs into a puddle
and they rolled down her little throat
into her wavy stomach.
These ripe red things
swished around her concave middle
in tornado spins. As she walked,
having decided on the movement, the entered
berries became barriers in her vine veins
and then grew in bundles wherever they happened to latch.
I heard she sat in the middle of bushes and tree stumps
slowly watching her knees
transform from bone to stem.
I heard she found it was easier to sway
and grow back this way.
She decided early the contradictory weather
was reason enough to walk,
but she did not realize her body
would have to become the decision.
Her arms leaves. Her eyes pollen.
Her stomach a clearing
surrounded in wood.
As a collection of bushes
she could die in the winter
and come back in the spring,
she could flourish in the summer
and be eaten,
she could provide nourishment in early fall.
She could change her colors naturally,
at ease with the yearly death
that made her beautiful.
And most importantly, when it did frost
and when it did snow
she could be dormant with the knowledge
she would grow back in Spring.
I don’t know where she entered,
what path, what kind of berries animate
themselves enough to jump off stems
and into a child’s throat.
Maybe she ate them; picked them
with curious hands and put them on her innocent tongue.
But I heard they came alive, plunged themselves into her mouth.
I heard they came alive. I heard she
was happy with the result,
proud to have allowed a little girl’s body
to be taken by roots
and swallowed by the ground.
Her knew self could sway in the contradictory wind
and she preferred the ability to bend.