We Were Young

Kathryn deLancellotti

We were so young when we

left the city lights to climb


the mountain, and discover the

tree house was too small for us.


Four redwood pillars couldn’t hold

the fire, so I continued to


live without my skin. Red bark

burned through starless nights,


coyotes screamed, blue jays

squawked in darkness. I moved


high up the mountain hoping to

feel the hand of God smear the ash


between my eyes, wash me clean

in a silent river. But the land was


cursed, and the groves

that were his first temples


burned with fire. We were banished

by flames, so we climbed down the mountain,


watched ash turn to dust and float away

in the light.


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