This Document Should Be Retained as Evidence of Your Journey

“THIS DOCUMENT SHOULD BE RETAINED AS EVIDENCE OF YOUR JOURNEY begins with a strange kind of urgency, ‘When the dead speak, we have to listen.’ I’m compelled to lean in, listen, get a closer look into this book’s ‘house of roots,’ bees that are ‘a swarm of suns,’ and a ‘river’ that ‘writes a dusty letter to a snake, borrowing its curl.’ I feel as though I, too, am ‘[divining] some leaves’ to take stock of an inevitable fate.”

Ely Shipley

from Understory

When the dead speak, we have to listen. They coach
this puffed-up season, this fertile mantle.

They own our palest reflections,
which create their own dangers.

In the house of roots, they pass through small rooms
and balk at each threshold.

They perch alone among trees, like cold creatures—
curve & hunch, fur & bluster—

the overhanging shadows that fold themselves
neatly into our beds.