By Payette Lake

June 24, 2016


Cullen Groves is an aspiring writer who lives in Moscow, Idaho, where he studied at the University of Idaho. He has had poetry published by Asimov’s, and several works by Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, including the story, “The Madness of the Mansa,” as well as a forthcoming epic in heroic couplets.

I stood on the shore of the lake and became a tree,
Gave up my heart for heartwood,
Gave up my nerves for needles,
Thrust my tangled veins into the wet sand,
And wove them into roots for a strong, tall tree
Like the ponderosas looming around me,
I abandoned thoughts and hurts,
Felt the gentle wavelets
Roll striated sands over my toes,
Over the arches of my feet,
Burying my ankles,
And I thought that I could stand there eternally
Until the waters overthrew me, buried me,
Like the drowned old pines that sometimes peer
From the dark waters like ill-remembered dreams,
And I sang rhymeless verses to myself
In the timeless nothingness between matter and mattering,
And the wide dark waters murmured before me

But I heard my father calling to me, distantly,
Calling me away to work,
To be a man–could I refuse?
Returning after to the shore,
I could not find where I had stood,
For I had thrust my roots in sand

© Cullen Groves

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