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by Kelsey Allan

Beyond the gully—across
puddled water and a man-made bridge—
the woods sprawl.
This is home, familiar
like my own skin.
It’s wilted summer, the pungent smell
of riverwater and sweat,
how it flooded one day when I couldn’t let go.
There’s the sound of calloused feet on dirt,
the throb of my spine against a walnut tree,
my hair caught in the grooves
between brown bark and trunk.
I belong to the roots, see.
First to feel the sways,
the shudders, the balance
shift from zero to sixty
in under thirty seconds.
No one believed me
when I said the rains would come.
Mud stained us all then,
but it didn’t matter. I knew
already I’d lose.
It’s noble, I hope,
going down with the ship.