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We are loathed
to give such feelings
anticipation, mercy
to forests, trees of sap

In the hills of middle California
where entire mountains are cultivated
to be chopped down
right before the bulldozers & axes arrived
they’d send us, part-time archaeologists,
to verify that they weren’t destroying any,
“cultural remains;” all that summer & that heat
I walked one foot ahead of the bulldozers
looking for fire-cracked rock, obsidian,
anything to indicate that this swath
of trees, this valley,
these canyons, could be saved

and the trees held their breath
and the wind turned its cheek
as I passed by