Confronting Our Nature

Immense networks envelop our forms:
Banyan, Eucalyptus, Oak, Redwood, Sequoia—

if we lean into them, the internet of fungus
communicates with other bodies, electric.

All receptors piqued. A sensory ecosystem
deepens within me, like when water comes

together with other water, once rain, once
stream—now ocean—this mass of thin threads.

Mycelium—anonymous lives knitted
organically—underground internet—

ignored roots linking one-to-the-next.
The remains of a Banyan tree have valves

and ventricles carrying sounds like wind
chimes—they bleed forever in invisible

incense. It’s holy, really—braced for the
purpose water poses when folding over

shorelines in storms, or when earthquakes hit.
Each loss is a radius of dedicated rain—

a choir of colorful flies descending.
And it’s challenging to know connection—

with no external visible labyrinth of lives,
no chants in parallel eyes, no meditation

of the body to follow. And it’s challenging
when humanity is disconnected—

a beating heart on the rocks
bloody-early on a Sunday morning

heart like a cock-cry,
heart like a large dead tree,

heart successively collapsing
like a power outage.

Cassandra Rockwood-Rice self-publishes a small art and literary zine called Rag. She works for an arts non-profit and lives in California with her wonderful daughter and three brilliant cats. She is an award-winning poet with writing published in several national reviews and journals, including New Delta Review and Rip Rap. She has a poem forthcoming in Hawai’i Review. Cassandra holds a BA from California Institute of Integral Studies and an MFA in writing from California College of the Arts. She loves to travel and take on new artistic projects. She is interested in ecology, borders, identity, diasporas, and confession.

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