Youth on Age

A poem by Laura Da'

November 12, 2023

Lockets of licorice ferns
throw piked green backflips

into the mulch of second growth
western red cedar. The sun opens

the cellar doors to ground nests
and the trail buzzes with bees

and their urgent enticement
to forward motion. School emails

promise a multilayered approach
to safety with single point of entry,

thick rubber door jams, emotional
support staff specialists.

Patches of dicentra formosa
open their mauve aortas

to spit green seeds into
the moss. During quarterly

lockdown drills, it is someone's job
to run through the halls, banging

on doors and begging to be let in.
The creek banks are carpeted

with piggybacked youth-on-age
rhizomes. Tender plants with slim,

hairy legs and rough green palms.
Each mother leaf