We walk among the dead.
Decimated by an epidemic of
A literal graveyard.
834 million trees standing, dead.
One in fourteen trees, dead.
Death is a gray haze on a hillside,
Foreshadowing the smoke of future fires.
The physical presence
Merely a symptom
Of the thing we have imagined,
The thing that shall no longer be named.
Dry warm nights inviting, welcoming
First the mountain pine beetle (3.4 million acres)
Now also the spruce beetle (1.7 million acres).
Admire the blue-stained wood.
Make guitars, snowboards, skis.
Carcasses carved and cooked.
Sing songs about the days when
Snow piled under snowboards and skis.
When forests had winters.
When trees could grow.
And for our final (optional) prompt, I’d like you to take your cue from Borges, and write a poem that engages with a strange and fascinating fact. It could be an odd piece of history, an unusual bit of art trivia, or something just plain weird. While I cannot vouch for the actual accuracy of any of the facts presented at the links above (or any other facts you might use as inspiration!), I can tell you that there are definitely some poetic ideas here, just waiting for someone to use them.