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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 3, September 2016

Autumn Noelle Hall
Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, USA


Not an elven blade, or a tube of secret documents, or even a cache of squirreled acorns. And yet, here it is. As though one might, having shlepped this far through decomposing granite, have a sudden urge to flip pancakes.

Absent flour and eggs, I instead turn over what-if’s. Perhaps a rave of ravenous teens held their summer cookout here, and for lack of a pantry, propped the implement in the cleft before they left. Or maybe a hiker took a liking to a mistress in the tiny trailhead town, this utensil her sign unto him that the coast was clear for their tryst. It seems far-fetched to imagine an avian, even one so fond of shiny gadgets as a magpie, flying the flipper this far from a kitchen—let alone wedging it vertically into the tree’s elongated eye.

Part of me wants to remove this mote—pack it out to the local thrift shop, miffed as I am to have found man’s mark once more where it least belongs. But the part of me that taught my children things not theirs are not theirs to remove, relents. After all, it is just possible that another artist intended only to provoke a rare act of imagination, to spring a tale or two from a fellow mind opened and freed by its meander along the trail.

the wondering
more wondrous than truth . . .
a spatula
left to rest in the crevice
of a creekside cottonwood



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