Earth's Echo

Noah J. Guthrie

1. 

 

Wind-up frogs, wooden lungs 

coiled taut, croak in clipped, 

staccato crescendos, 

highest notes snapping 

off, twig-like, from the 

dawn-dimmed heads 

 

of longleaf pines, 

whose needles tousle and fan 

like the ruff of an owl, 

wafting their prickling scent. 

 

Submerged in silver ponds, 

cloistered in high canopy, 

the treefrogs sing. 

 

As the branches glow with gray, 

tinted by sleepy blue 

sunlight, the trunks bend, 

near-bald and tall, parceled 

into brown diamonds, 

 

leaning to whisper 

frond-rustling rumors. 

Their murmur is like a distant 

 

stranger hidden in columns of conifer. 

A voice, a zephyr in the treetops— 

felt, but faceless. 

 

 

2. 

 

Each echo streams 

from unseen source, a song 

rolling underground, 

where fungal filaments 

web with white from piercing 

tendrils, like static, 

 

like muted thunder 

shooting jasmonate and phosphorus 

from root to root— 

 

living language I long 

to touch, but should 

not grasp. 

 

 

3. 

 

In other forests, 

draconic fires whirl 

up the trunks, scarlet 

on charcoal—splitting, digging 

down, as though to rip out 

the earth’s throat. 

 

Let a spark of whispering filament 

escape, hoarded deep, 

untouched, in the ground. 

Whatever hidden thunder 

stirs the soil 

to root and branch, 

 

let a spark remain, 

curling gold in charred humus 

to nurse its embryonic glow. 

Fall 2020 Issue