Blackstone Park

Sierra Gideon
MA NCSS 2022

In between fallen oak leaves and discarded condom wrappers
there was a space for me to wonder
why I had come here from Montana, my home,
to learn more about nature.
Away from familiar firs and white-tailed deer,
I puzzled over a flattened paper coffee cup from Dunkin’ Donuts,
pelted just now by a green acorn.
I thought, for a moment,
when the cicadas grew louder than the humming of
air conditioning units from the adjacent neighborhood,
that I had found enough distance from the sound of my own species.
As soon as I thought I was surrounded by only nature,
a motorcycle ripped past on the road below.
Further down the path, an old man was pissing at the foot of a horse chestnut tree,
frantically fumbling with his zipper when
he realized he was not the only human present.

See, it’s not possible to get lost in these woods,
where the center of the park is no farther than
a five-minute walk from the nearest street.
Maybe it’s a matter of getting found
in these woods that, when I come to think of it,
are made out of the same stuff as the woods back home,
my skin and bones too.
Even the plastic on this forest floor
lives within me too.

For a moment, it doesn’t matter whether it is the crickets I am hearing
or a distant car alarm.