What stump?

said the bunchberry 

as it shrugged crimson-stained leaves

freed, just recently, from summer’s 

green mask


and you pointed, bemused

at the cracked grey stump

whiskery with lichen

bearded by moss

surrounded in bunchberry 

garnished with one.


That stump,

you said

this ancient nurse of a tree

in whose cracked bark

you cling

like a cliff rock lighthouse

or a bloom on a grave.


What stump?

repeated the bunchberry

with leaves spread wide

as if holding the sunlight 

like water 

or a whirling


and in wonder

you glimpsed it —

the bunchberry’s view — 


drawing you into 

a world 

with no other.

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