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Still Life with Pine & Wire


Sevigny Line Drawing_edited.jpg

35.6781° N, 108.1512° W

Boyish sapling, too young to cone, 

     made a fine fencepost along the creek. 

Now, grown to matriarch of pines, 

     wire swallowed into bark

     she’s drawn—

like fishes on a line—

all neighboring fenceposts toward her heart. 


What to make of this tableau in snow? 

     Harnessed, she breaks what held her back. 

Or no. She loved to be used, and useful. 

Misses the farmer who walked these lands. 

     He’s long dead, and still she grows. 

Claiming, consuming, remaking—

takes what his hands built for her own.

MelissaLSevigny-photo-by-Alexis-Knapp(publicity) - Melissa Sevigny (1)_edited.jpg

MELISSA L. SEVIGNY is the author of three books, most recently Brave the Wild River (W.W. Norton, 2023). She's worked as a science communicator in the fields of space exploration, water policy, and sustainable agriculture. She lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. 


There's a network of social trails and forest roads north of my house. I tend to wander them without plan or forethought, in all seasons, to think and dream and smell the ponderosa pines. I noticed the tree swallowing the fence on a snowy walk one December day as I walked FS Road 762, and I couldn't get the image out of my mind until I wrote it into a poem. 

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