redwood :: douglas goetsch

I visited them late on a summer day,
racing down from Oregon in a rented car
in twilight that lingered long enough
to make a man think he could levitate.
The forest is narrow, east to west,
and it’s hard to know where
to cut in from the highway without
a lover in the passenger seat
looking at maps and literature.
But I found that famous trunk
you can drive through, which I did,
and out the other side, the darkness
still held aloft like a blanket unfurled
but yet to land on a sleeping child.
I pulled off the forest road again
where a felled giant lay, twenty feet
wide I guessed, a width I climbed,
the thick ridges of bark my footholds,
and walked that Sequoia’s flank out to the top,
a hundred yards or so, and back,
and that was my harvest—not height,
but length. Maybe I can suggest to you
that when you travel alone for so long
you learn to live sideways, or you just
take what you get, then go, as I scrambled
down from that dead tree and, coveting
nothing, left for San Francisco, where
there were things to do in the dark.