–for Bill Ames
There is hatred in trees. They make you forget the taste of milk. I've seen them snap, take those who climb them with them. I've seen one pin a man to the dirt that wasn't ready to receive him--the way his shouts scaled the valley walls, the way a voice can't lift a single ounce. Our age was the Steam Age, and it was gone before it was a go, before it was the story burning down inside me, the one that isn't mine, nor yours, nor any god's--at the least the trees would say so. We logged everything around the giants; topped every spar that could be toppled; told the only kind of jokes there are, which is to say, we laughed about the chore that dying is. And everything is devastating as it is hilarious when you stay upright just to spite the sky.