Exploring Muir Woods by Nicole Michaels

No one can stand in these solitudes unmoved, and not feel there is more in humans than the mere breath of his body. – Charles Darwin

Lowlight plants like dolls in period dresses,
kneeling at the brown-barked legs

of giant kings, and not kings so much as
armored scouts, their plumed heads

towering in a canopy over the understory,
their knighted roots

flagging the herbaceous ground.
A coat of arms decomposes in the humus,

guarded by a standing snag
where there is not enough sun for wild roses

by pools and dragging falls
clustered by a thousand ladybugs

who whisper from spotted escutcheons.
If we could nap somewhere,

if we could curl up
in the lichen with the deer

well off the park’s groomed path,
wouldn’t we dream of timbered castles

where we gather after hunting dragons,
our strange but battle-ready steeds

tethered to the mist,
dappled chimeras

swatting at jays with tails of fern
while a boar roasts whole on a spit.



Nicole Michaels is a Marin County, CA native who makes her home in frontier Wyoming. She is a working poet with a degree in English from Stanford University where she studied under the late Diane Middlebrook and chose an emphasis in feminist studies. She spent some time in the American South as a journalist for small papers.

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