Fugue for Old Growth

Andrew C. Gottlieb

                                    The forest is never silent. Each rock

                                    waits its turn. The river misleads:
                                    impatience is rare. In the valley,
                                    empty but for pine and fir slicing
                                    upward, fog dictates depth of vision.


                                    Everywhere: ghosts of black-tailed

                                    deer. The valley is miles long, empty

                                    and never silent. The river deceives

                                    even the rockiest cedars. Every step,

                                    already gone, like fog, water,


                                    a deceptive impatience in the long

                                    valley. The forest never mourns

                                    what falls. Walk the valley forever:

                                    there’s fog and rot, a limited vision,

                                    and all that’s seen is ghosts and deer


                                    somewhere else. Silence is a myth.

                                    Each dripping limb helps steer

                                    the river under every calmest rock.

                                    The valley, long and empty,

                                    never silent. Walk: forever


                                    is a myth. What’s fallen rots alongside

                                    ghosts and fog. Empty is deceptive:

                                    the forest is never empty, and myths

                                    are patient in their mourning

                                    as tumbling mud from rocky roots 


                                    joins every rushing thing. Deer

                                    are shadows, ghosting in their foggy

                                    patience, deceptive in the slicing

                                    pines. What’s fallen: is a myth.

                                    Depth of vision in the valley


                                    is a question that’s deceiving.

                                    Long and empty, patience steers

                                    its rushing miles along the forest’s

                                    foggy rock. Everywhere: the steps

                                    of ghosts, the forever myth


                                    of vision, black-tailed deer.

                                    Somewhere: the drop of rock,

                                    the silent rush, the crash of rot.  

                                    The myths are long and empty.

                                    The forest is never silent.

 About the Writer
Poetry Split Lip Magazine

Andrew C. Gottlieb lives and writes in Irvine, California and is the Reviews Editor for the journal Terrain.org. His work has appeared in many journals including the American Literary Review, Best New Poets 2013, Beloit Fiction Journal, Ecotone, ISLE, Provincetown Arts, Poets & Writers and Salon.com. His chapbook of poems, Halflives, was published in 2005 by New Michigan Press, and he was writer-in-residence most recently at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon. Find him at: www.andrewcgottlieb.com.