Dad and I walked the paths outside the forest.
Vegetation grew shoulder high,
knots of grass and blackberry.
Bees and dragonflies flew as though draping
a heavy brocade of honeysuckle.
Dad showed me how to pluck a blossom,
touch its base to my lips and pull the stamen.
I licked a vague sweetness from the flower.
The sun lolled in the sky as though it would never move,
a stubborn sun that seemed to trap the day.
Streamers of coolness reached from the forest
like extended arms.
We did not follow that path
but stopped by a stripling tree,
wild cherry, Dad said, cutting a slim branch
with his pocket-knife and paring the bark.
Near one end he notched the wood
and I could see it was hollow, still green, a little damp.
It smelled like a forest; I could taste it on my tongue.
It released one clear piercing note of alarm.