As a Door Slams Downstairs, I Consider the Forest in a Framed Photograph on My Wall

Cameron McGill

In the part of my mind where God would live, there’s a No Trespassing sign nailed to a tree. Light anxious on the forest floor. Branches in the background, bright as bone fronds. Light enters as from a door to the east. There’s no heartmountain that doesn’t end in a strangle of shadow or air. I took this photograph decades ago, and still the greens are on fire where I keep them framed behind glass, so it is always 8 p.m. late-summer light that falls on me.

The apartment is quiet, I wonder where I’ll go– Paris, Missoula, the other room? I’m un-surroundable. Except by this picture’s miniature song, the way light plays xylophones on the ferns. Shocking really, its stillness. I mean, the music of it.

Cameron McGill is an educator and musician from Champaign, Illinois, and the author of two books, Meridians (Willow Springs Books) and In the Night Field (Augury Books). His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Raleigh Review, and RHINO. He teaches at Washington State University, where he serves as co-director of the Visiting Writers Series.