Jennifer Neely

Slow Sap Trickle

Watching the spring syrup running:
A slow sap trickle
Winds down through dirty
Bark and conks and shelf fungi
Like sweat
Sliding over skin
That begs to be reminded
Of touch.
Slowly, slowly.
She appreciates the patience it takes,
That this movement is the result of gravity.

She waits three seasons. Thirty.
She has stood here so long she can’t even know.
But, she is consoled:
Even lava moves at this pace,
Orange cracking through the crust
The earth’s internal glow
Dripping and sulfurous
And deadlier than it first appears,
As it destabilizes your feet and chokes
The breath from your throat.

Jennifer Neely received her MFA in fiction in 2001 from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale; she has published recently in Spoon River Poetry Review, Pacific Review, and Origins, and has work forthcoming in Crab Creek Review.

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