The Wood Elf
Your feet don’t feel trees felled
or canteen doused needles
or branches shredded from pruning.
The path strikes true to those odd
toes, spread like Asian fans
in each broad boot (perhaps you
should have bound your arches
before they could fill your footwear).
Heel lightly, lady, so you never leave a mark.
You think in Elvin tongue of narrow bows
behind your back, thin, strong twine
that sends them flying, telepathic powers
to speak to trees, some pointy-eared
hero meeting your acquaintance and eye,
meant to see fleetingly, only once.
Strange in this enchanted wood, stranger
enchanted mind, queen of your own realm—
Forest lady, Light Guardian, Squirrel Lover,
Chipmunk Chatterer, Angel of Aged Branches,
Snake Advisor, Hawk Spotter, solitary—
you do not know they follow you on your fantasy,
trackers, loggers, cutters, rangers,
thieves in green machines and tractors,
four-wheeling through your favorite places,
your sparrow winged thickets and deer dens.
Men kick up mud at the scent of your wanderings,
trapping here your footprint,
now, too, your trail,
the water bottle you dropped,
the gloves you left behind,
the mutterings of your memories,
every stone, stream, flowing robe,
ravine and imagined world,
next your very breath
until all they see is woman.
Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt
Copyright June 13, 2011