haibun with view of God and forest

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prayer used to mean eyes sewn shut tighter than seams on a
baseball. these rituals now seem superfluous, so tonight we took a walk
in some woods—that God and I—we chatted, I cried, and they made no
noise as it paced over the earth, over dust from now-dead suns—
which long ago she recycled into my little finger, a swallow’s tail feather,
my mother’s femur, the white speckles on a fawn. I stop to ask them why a praying
mantis consumes the head of its mate. I ask her what it is about a gray sky that
always drapes a radiologist’s lead blanket over my chest. He turns their eye to me:
it’s a gem, or it’s Borges’ aleph; it’s a quasar, which—like my mind in this moment—
is the fastest spinning object in the universe, stumbling & spilling-over
in the tar-black dark, asking the questions of a damned fool, because

my God is brooding.
I am dust—and all the rest.
these trees are my skin.

Tuck Ledbetter (he/him) is a third-year student at East Tennessee State University where he studies English and Linguistics. He will be published in The Mockingbird Literary Journal in 2022. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys playing drums for local jazz groups and hiking on the nearby Appalachian Trail.

NOVUS Literary and
Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN