Art Contest 2018: 1st Place Winner

Un-alone in the Woods

by Elizabeth Frank


“without the eyes and brain, there’s no such thing as color.”
-The Secret Language of Color, Joann Eckstut and Arielle Eckstut

The snowflakes, whirling in circles are not white, the chickadee hopping higher, branch to branch, is not black-capped

the branches are not brown

the pines, towering and slowly swaying, are not faded green
the bushes’ berries, swinging from toothpick stems, are not crimson

until I see them.

Your eyes, from your side of the path are not pleading or cutting
until they meet mine, my touch neither kind nor cold

until you feel.

From my edge, I wonder what is this mystery we manifest
this tent of slanted branches cupped by earth, matched at jagged

balanced peaks.

A fragile meeting of such need and weight, each
without the other, nothing but a flat, splintered stick

waiting to rot.

Yet we, having been brought together (how else
to explain our soaring height, the cathedral of space

we hold),

we are a shelter for pine needles and berries, for twigs and chickadees,
and what amazes me most is all that depends on the choice

to face each other and lean in.

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