Camping In The Edgelands With My Cousin

by Amelia Doherty

We never reached higher than the lower branches
But I swear our bones were oak and our fingers brushed the sky.
We never worried about the wind tearing at our clothes like wild animals,
Climbing the hill where the grass reached our thighs.
One night we took a tent and pitched it up, huddling around the small fire,
Watching the embers danced, chasing the dandelion seeds
As we whistled with the whispering wind.
“Do you think we’ll reach heaven?” she asked,
Drawing pictures with her finger,
A dot-to-dot among the stars we couldn’t see
In streets illuminated by lampposts alone.
“Aren’t we there already?” I replied. We didn’t sleep,
Watching the world fade into darkness, guarded by the trees.
We saw the moon in the early morning,
Dawn taking her throne as the night turned to sleep.
We listened to the gentle rushing of the brook
And made the small jump before we climbed the lower branches again.
When it became too cold to camp,
We watched the milk-coloured flowers bloom,
Surrounded by snowflakes that I admired too little.
The blossoms blew away and we witnessed ducks
Emerging for Spring alongside protest signs,
Ragged, torn posters, chants and the mournful calls
Of birds who lost their small Edens
At the hands behind axes and chainsaws.
We continued in our adventure,
Trampling where no path was carved,
Finding places only strips of sky had seen
Before we climbed the lower branches again.