It’s not even a boulder, really—just big enough
to mount a plaque on, and good thing,
because otherwise, who would know
it’s special? No one comes for the rocks.
Lizzie’s is sedimentary. It’s like a headstone.
Behind her, not much of note: forest sorrel
that dies if you step on it, so please
stay on the path. When a redwood dies,
new ones sprout on the stump’s periphery.
It’s the most common way new trees are made
I learned that on a placard. If I lean too far
trying to see the treetops, I’ll spiral toward
the circle’s thousand-year-old center. I’m going
to keep my head down from here on out.
No one reads anymore. For every dog
on this trail, there’s a sign that reads
Dogs Are Not Allowed On The Trails.
And I’ve seen a lot of dogs. If people read signs,
we wouldn’t be driving ourselves to extinction
like these redwoods, which will die soon enough,
leaving Lizzie’s rock all alone until the end of time.
Kathryn Smith is the author of the poetry collection Book of Exodus (Scablands Books) and the forthcoming chapbook Chosen Companions of the Goblin, winner of the 2018 Open Country Press Chapbook Contest. Her poems have been published in Poetry Northwest, Mid-American Review, Redivider, Bellingham Review, The Journal, and elsewhere, and have earned an Allied Arts Foundation Award, a Spokane Arts Grant Award, and a Pushcart special mention. She also makes collage and mixed media art using discarded books and embroidery. Originally from Port Angeles, Washington, she now lives in Spokane.