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IN CHEROKEE WOOD

The branches move wildly
to one drum of wind then another
as I come to bury you.

Is it you, e do da, in the limbs,
come one last time to lead me?

We step among shadows. I feel
your death as if my own feet
were hobbled. The wind stops.
The branches become silent.

I search the trees for something
familiar, the braided nest;
the red-tail, a piece of sky
joined back to earth and constancy.

And I think I see you come down
from the bough, my father,
step to the ground,
like a man who has imagined

he's seen God. One foot sure,
the other always dancing.

      — B.S. Allen