Poem by Nora Kirkham

August 15, 2023

Matsu (松)

This word for pine sounds like waiting,
the way trees rise around a shrine, tied
with hemp ropes, their resin aching
for a god to descend.

In another country, my father
plants a pinecone under leaves,
marking its place on a plank in kanji.

This sign sinks into the soil
as the cone takes root and crosses
fungi threads on its descent
towards a bedrock of sparkling quartz.

This seedling is a prayer that drinks
from the rock and a word like waiting,
reaching out to winged voices
on higher branches,

until the tired and far-flung words spread
into a sharp green forest, pining
for something old and something else.

About Nora Kirkham

Nora Kirkham is a writer from Maine. She lives in Scotland and is pursuing a Ph.D. in modern and contemporary women’s writing. Her poetry and short stories are featured in Amethyst Review, Rock & Sling, Ruminate, and Tokyo Poetry Journal.

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