So Vast

by Emily Stoddard Issue: Fall 2016 Special Issue on Forests
“You know this well, you who are also there”
                                                          — Hadewijch
Home is wherever we hold 

                      our breath the least

       the white oak does not remember it differently


       her memory is the only god I understand—

Here, amen is not amen but

                        the exhale through the center of moon

             Say you know this too


             we can be homesick together—

                         trade our histories like the trees do,

             starting at the roots

These secret understories we keep,

                         vast as oceans but bordered by skin—

             Let us defy it all


             seeing each other, become a revolution.

After all, the only real love

                         is the kind that witnesses—

             the way a full moon shreds the forest open

                                   without crushing the ferns,

                         a light that breathes



Emily Stoddard

Emily Stoddard's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in New Poetry from the Midwest, Menacing Hedge, Watershed Review, Hermeneutic Chaos, and elsewhere. She is an affiliate of Amherst Writers & Artists and the founder of Voice & Vessel, a writing studio. Learn more about her work at