The Earth Accepts Its Daily Prophet: To Mary Oliver

To Mary Oliver


You died today, some

time, waking early

to give your body


back to the earth as the earth

gave you your mind. Outside

a girl is walking with Whitman


under her arm. She does not want

to go inside, to misremember

the loving she finds


in the eyes behind photographs

in the bears and the birds

in the women who dance


the Daphne, breathe into the trees.

You know trees

are not passive,


crickets are not signs

of silence, petals can pray.

Your footsteps leave


cool hues on the warming

earth, reminding the sugary grin

of sand and oats, slurring


out our secret: living is

constant revival. I listen

for your invisible


hand, digging up the bent

bark and I feel safe,

suddenly more aware


I have a body. To you,

every hole is not

a burial. I imagine you,


winged-back, swan-woman,

walking down from the sky,

neck too long and awkward


to be anything but a telescope

for the feldspar and the

fields of fur and fire


you sleep in, grateful to

the yellow grasses, blinking

beside the animals.


Who, now, is going

to observe the earth,

hear the tree



and rebuild it

across the swamp?


H.E. Riddleton


H.E. Riddleton, whose life is synonymous with writing, is an autistic poetess, functioning as a passionate English Major and a devoted rambler on her infinitely loved Sylvia (Plath). She has been published in TCC South Script, The Ibis Head Review, The Visitant, The Light Ekphrastic, and S/tick magazine.

© 2019