Before we were trees, we were humans, and before that dogs, slobbering, swallowing,
readying our mouths for poetry. Tell me. Paws calloused thick as wood; fur grass-coarse;
pleasure here, and here, and here, in the rootless running ground-parallel spine. This same
almost-wordlessness, a forward leaning hunger. And then. We stood up and put on shoes,
took them off, put on clothes, took them off. We talked and talked and made open-handed
gestures, like this. Put down pens, picked them up. The dog-joy, sometimes, but only
when ground-parallel, only when can’t speak, put your words in my mouth. Yes. Tongues
sap-thickened, webbed woolen by spider’s work. Lichen, fern, blackberry bramble. Pith,
teeth, ankle bone. Tail-wag, woof woof woof, won’t you dance with me tonight. Urging
forward into silence. And now we are trees, upright in resonance with lightning strikes,
tall buildings, each other, the things we built when we were human. Now other bodies
gesture on us. Wagtail, robin, the jackdaw haw haw haw! laughing, straying from your
hair; the wind hshhh shk shk shk our leaves like wings. Again bramble, breastbone, beak.
My words in your mouth. Two trees readying ourselves for flight.
Cameo Marlatt is a Canadian writer living in Scotland, where she is studying towards a Doctorate of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. Currently, she is working on a collection of poetry and essays on the topic of zoopoetics. She is the co-author of A Drink of One’s Own: Cocktails for Literary Ladies, and her poetry has been published in From Glasgow to Saturn and Lighthouse.