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“The Bold Magic of Trees”

By the late afternoon, everyone has
grown trail weary and lounges in camp
chairs reading novels or searching maps
for what they’ll find tomorrow, and that’s
when I like to go into the trees and find
the husks of trunks that will make tonight’s
fire. This dried out and rotting wood is light,
and I drag what looks like 1000 pounds behind
me like it’s nothing because it smiles me
to hear their gasps because I am the same
fraud I was when I was 10 years old
and pored over magic books at the library
because we need magic, and these people who came
here are brilliant, and I like to be thought bold.

John Brantingham is the first poet laureate of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. His work has been featured in hundreds of magazines and in Writer’s Almanac and The Best Small Fictions 2016. He has seven books of poetry and fiction including The Green of Sunset from Moon Tide Press. He teaches at Mt. San Antonio College.

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