I pledge allegiance
to Octobers in the Blue Ridge,
her autumn air a new kind of baptism.
And to the weeping branches of the willow trees
when I’d sit at the pond and weep over everything
I had given away, leaves fluttering as if they could listen,
as if they were. To the grazing cows, to the noisy streams,
to the orchid skies we’d melt under, our spines engraving
into damp earth, both of us high on petrichor. It is grace
to be a citizen of beauty. To be sons and daughters of
valleys where wildflowers spring in the snow, to be
the dumb and baffled children swept in her seas.
To the fields striped with yellow and the mossy
coves, to the kisses we exchange under paling
moonlight, to the stars that keep our prayers,
I pledge allegiance to you and you alone.

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