There is a clearing in the woods. You lie on your back in the word clearing. In the word clearing you see the clearing. In the clearing you imagine and anticipate the word. You feel the pressure of a root in your back. You roll and dry leaves crackle. The word crackle nestles in your back like a root. In following the word you see the clearing again.

The root crackles as you misplace the leaf. The leaf you see and the leaf you will see. The leaf you will see and the leaf you imagine. And the leaf you will imagine. The word leaf on its back in the clearing.

Years from now, when the clearing is full of trees and the rest of the forest has been trampled by dirty machines, time, the dirtiest machine, will conjure the word clearing for you and you will see something new in it. You will become the root in the back of the word. You will not let it forget what it meant when it meant what it meant.

“Root,” you say.

“Clearing,” you say.

“Leaf,” you say.

“Time,” you say.

You imagine a clearing. A particular clearing. You imagine the word clearing said in a voice. Said in your voice. In the clearing, under the root, time is buried and inconstant, some liquid of the leaf. The root snaps like a whip, curls like a vine. The clearing expands and contracts. The leaf greens and browns. Up floats the leaf to reattach to the twig. Back shoots the twig into the branch.

The branch reaches from out of the clearing into the clearing. Out of the clearing is the word clearing and the word branch. The word leaf and the word root. The word time is every bit as fluid as time. All other words are within it, even the root with the root in its back.

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