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Big Rock
by Judith Tullis

Like incense,
summer smoke rises
from the hot remains
of a controlled burn.

Not the path to hell,
but to a mossy hollow
where Big Rock
confounds the landscape.

Unanchored to bedrock,
resting on a bed
of flame-red leaves,
its presence mystifies
woodsmen, scientists
and now, me.

I've come to the rock
that has withstood every
strike of time's hammer
to ask a question
and be served by its wisdom.

Buoyed by faith, I lay
one hand then the other
on its cool stoicism,
ask what I need to know,
touch my forehead to its surface,
rough and comforting
as a grandfather's cheek.

Big Rock neither softens nor
warms in response, withholding
(or without) an answer
leaving me empty, rebuffed,
not the first time I have sought
solace from the wrong god.


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