Forests are Fragile Now

unless you are woodpecker, do not tap: leave
bark unscarred by your etched remembrances: trees
bleed
                      (bark splits like parched skin, oozing raw)

unless you are otter, do not dam: no saw-toothed
construct will save you from inundation when worlds
melt
                      (bark splits like sun-swelled plum, flesh)

unless you are hog, do not root: your subterranean
tunneling disrupts: each earthy filament, infinite, will
sense
                      (bark spit from digger’s teeth, blood-wet)

unless you are fox, do not scream: forests are fragile
now, and, despite what you believe, no one will
hear
                      (chords spit from choir-pits, trash)

listen, care—

unless leaves breathe
for us, sighing
their indifference

                      (cords split like kindling, axed)

unless we sit with trees—

                      (lit trees, like tiki torches, flesh)


Jude Marr (they, them, their) writes poetry as protest. They are the author of Breakfast for the Birds (FLP, 2017) and their first full-length collection We Know Each Other by Our Wounds is forthcoming from Animal Heart Press in November 2020. Jude’s day job is Director of the Reading-Writing Center and Digital Studio at Florida State University. Follow them @JudeMarr1 and find more of their work at www.judemarr.com.