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I follow someone into the trees,
out of the light, as if to reenter   
a dream, but this bramble’s thorned
for real. I’m not onto a trail
but a visual ripple, a rustle, snap
of a twig. Back of my hand
fresh-streaked red. I can’t say
I know these woods, haven’t been
that attentive. The one who travels
ahead is the mud-fellow, the forager,
original nomad hid
under the cowl of our civil distraction,
invisible. Unless
you interpret that flash in the laurel
as evidence of more than a gust,
not a squirrel just starting up
a dark branch after a few breaths’
vigilant stillness, not a sparrow
jostling the long leaves as it lifts
away toward its nest, but someone
who regards you as a guest,
and who will show you—in such
a snippet of forest bounded by city
as this—the clutch of chanterelles,
straw-gold in the moss under alder
and fir, where I stumble soon after
I enter, trusting a ghost.

Jed Myers lives in Seattle. His poetry collections include Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award) and the chapbook The Nameless (Finishing Line Press). His work has received Southern Indiana Review’s Editors’ Award, the Literal Latte Poetry Award, and Blue Lyra Review’s Longish Poem Award. His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, Crab Orchard Review, Harpur Palate, Crab Creek Review, The Briar Cliff Review, Atlanta Review, The New Guard, and elsewhere.