words by imogen l. smiley

photography by cheyenne bholla

Her island had barely

Broken the surface of the water,

When the voice of Man was carried over the tides.

He had remarked how bountiful and fertile her soil was;

And warned that trees sprouted

Like weeds on young lands.

Her island was growing and changing;

Rivers and mountains formed on what had once been smooth ground.

Settlements were coming and going along her surface,

And as she rose above the waves,

The trees sprouted from beneath the earth.

They were reaching fine branches toward the sun

When the voice of Man was carried over the waves.

This time, he didn’t stay away;

He disembarked a canoe brandishing his razor

And hacked at every sprouting sapling

Leaving her island barren.

Over time, the thin dark bark of her trees sprouted again;

Cowering away from Man’s razor

Her island bled and wept as he tore every shrub, flower and branch from her lands.

Until she took his blade from calloused hands

And did it herself.

Her Island rebelled around her,

Plants growing without her consent.

She couldn’t uproot them all.

The blade she had stolen from Man had grown dull

All she could do was let nature be.

She hides an oasis from Man as he passes;

Until he learns to distinguish blemish from beauty from afar,

He will be forbidden from touching her sands.