Before you are fully awake, your second waking,
remember that a fossil you rejoiced to find
in a sandy streambank when you were ten
resembled wood in your hand; in the lines
of grey you recognized striations
from a tree. You could easily imagine
the centuries of growing and the bark
enclosing the rings in their silence; you understood
grain shaped its way with sun and water.
And now you also see, as you wake,
that if someone had made a fire
with that wood, those centuries of sunlight --
a store of days transformed to make
a canopy of rising sparks --
would have warmed her hands.
She might have thought of green,
of leaf-work veins and branches
enclosed in stone, of how
streambanks hold all their time, and thought of fossils,
their intricate embodiment
gracing the human hand, as you do now.
Jessica Jopp received the Baxter Hathaway Prize in Poetry from Epoch and was a finalist for both the Yale Younger Poets Prize and the Juniper Prize. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including POETRY, the Denver Quarterly and The Texas Observer. She lives in Indiana, Pa.