The Poetry Workshop
~For David Wagoner
By Heidi Seaborn
The poet invites us to get lost in the woods, so we do.
Off trail, salal bunched damp around our boots,
lichen-crusted branches cracking underfoot.
We follow his metaphor into Hoh rainforest.
Winter storms off the Pacific wrested old-growth hemlock
and spruce. Root structures big as a two-man crosscut saw
lay bare, splayed black hands stretched to hold off dank mist.
Each massive trunk coded with ancient history.
When it is my turn to lead, I take us deeper still
to what remains carved out of this rough land—
a clearing now lost to giant sword ferns, rhododendron trees.
There I offer up my poem like a mossy stone.
The writers set to work—my poem becomes a nurse cedar.
Fungi spores fleck its bark. Maple seedlings curl out of rot.
One day their roots will burrow the rainforest floor,
create a colonnade of stilted trees from the decay.
For now, I’ve lost my GPS—my fine sense of direction.
I listen for the far-off rush of the Hoh River
to guide me to its tribal mouth washing into the Pacific.
Heidi Seaborn grew up in the Northwest, lived all over the world before returning home ten years ago. Since she started writing in 2016, her poetry has appeared in over 50 journals and anthologies including Nimrod, Penn Review, Yemassee Journal, AmericanJournal of Poetry. She’s the 2018 Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize winner and finalist for the2018 Mississippi Review Poetry Prize, 2017 Patricia Dobler Poetry Award and Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize. She’s a New York University MFA candidate, graduate of Stanford University and on The Adroit Journal staff. www.heidiseabornpoet.com
Author photo by Rosanne Olson, featured image