The Difference

The Difference

River knows the sea
by leaving, and trees 
                             stand naked
along its banks for the winter run.

Between bark and heart, rings
hold the years 
                      before woodcutters
chose to make a table, a coffin or bed.

On the shortest day, she runs 
her fingers over the cold bark 
                                       searching for 
the promise – buds swelling 

in spite of forest fires, floods,
and droughts. 
fire and memory the river.

Susan Landgraf was awarded an Academy of American Poets’ Laureate award in 2020. Two Sylvias Press published The Inspired Poet in 2019. More than 400 poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Margie, Nimrod, Calyx, and others. Other books include What We Bury Changes the Ground and Other Voices. A former journalist, she taught at Highline College for 30 years and at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. She served as Poet Laureate of Auburn, Washington, from 2018 to 2020.

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