Take off your clothes. Leave them flung about upon the couch that loves to hold souls while they cry.

Bypass the shoes on the threshold, scattered among the pile. We’ll walk barefoot through the shorn grass and manicured paths.

Hold my hand as we walk through the gate. The one that holds the vines and elk out, and the people and pets in.

The wild greets us, recognizing their kin, even if we have forgotten.

Our delight in the beauty of the forest is ringed with fear — of the plants that sting, the insects that bite, the wounds of our hearts that have never quite healed.

A mossy patch invites us to recline. You are enveloped between my body from above and the earth from below.

The sounds of water against rock, wind against leaf, tongue against tongue are indistinguishable to the deer who walks nearby.

You trace the curve of my spine. In our slowness we are surrounded with stories long since told: sawmills and small pox and scorned secrets.

What do we do with these stories? We watch. Listen. Taste the salt on each other’s cheeks. Wonder. Just how far can one break open?

The only thing that doesn’t come are the answers. What does this mean? Where do we go from here?

Our entanglement does not end when one body pulls out of the other. Or when water can no longer hear our cries. Or when moss no longer supports our weight. Where does one end, and the other begin?

We find sanctuary in the forest floor, as we are now fugitives from certainty. We linger.

Too soon, we stumble back upon our shoes and sweaters and the couch to cry upon. We don’t remember returning through the gate that divided the domestic from the wild.

And the parts of us that have been ripped wide open are soft and dark inside, fertile soil for whatever is to be-come.

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