If I Wrote a Poem

By Isabelle Walker

It would praise the smooth grey boulders
I climbed in Central Park when I fled there
after school—the view they gave of people
prone on blankets on the lawn. Squirrels
on their haunches weighing if I was beast
or doe. Without backs turned away at home
reminding me what I was and wasn’t,
the chain mail vest I’d hitched around
my chest slipped off. Essence of willow oak
and sassafras and silverbell rushed in
a different form of love. I could see the hundred
kinds of trees that framed the sky—a million
hands nearly touching but not blocking
each other’s sun.

Isabelle Walker is a Santa Barbara based-poet and teacher with a special interest in the natural world and recovery. Her poem about the January 2018 Montecito debris flow won first prize in Seven Hills Review’s 2018 Literary & Penumbra Poetry Contest. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. Also by this poet: "Carrizo Plain"