We Don’t Look at Each Other · Tim Staley

We came to the edge of the forest
to practice the raising of our spirits.
We drove here in reliable vehicles.
We lined them up behind us.

A stealth bomber slides
across the sky. I imagine
how thermals feel up
its matte black wings.
I don’t tell the others.

One lady raises her open hands
to the damp particles
pumping towards us
from the forest.
She feels the spirit. It’s easy to see.
She jams her hands
back in her pockets
like the rest of us.

We’re strangers unkenneled
by irritable attention spans,
dehydrated generosities
and a swirling boredom
with the modern world.

Soon we’ll be splashing
gas on the skirt
of this great forest.
Each person will pour
all they’ve got.

There’s no sense hurrying
hydrocarbons.
The timer’s set.

The headlights at our backs
make it look

like a movie.
Our silhouettes
twitch on the silver
screen of the forest.

It’s this last bit of waiting
that burnishes our fear.


Tim Staley was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1975. His books include Lost On My Own Street (Pski's Porch, 2016) and The Most Honest Syllable is Shhh (NightBallet, 2017). He lives in Southern New Mexico with his wife and daughter. Visit PoetStaley.com for more.