What the Forest Remembers (Bornean Ironwood, Central Kalimantan) Do you remember what the forest remembers? Do you remember the hanging trees, cool as night lanterns? Do you remember the lights flashing on the cicada’s wing? The red streaking water, soothing as hot thunder? Who has the right to ask these questions of the forest? I walked on an earth blanketed in soot three hands thick. White butterflies of ash materialized in the hot air around me and evaporated, migrating to a heaven of cypress and laurel and cecropia. I say your names as if I know you. I would like to know you. The ironwood tree grows so slowly – a hair’s breadth with every moonset, a finger’s width, maybe, with every revolution of the sun. If you are an ironwood tree burned in this fire you will not recover in my lifetime but you will recover. Your seeds are the size of hand-axes in the charred earth. Do you remember the praying mantis scratching at your tender green parts? I slept last night cradled by fire blanketed in monoxide haze in a gray cabin of old iron wood a hard, ugly timber that stands its ground. Its seeds are the size of cairn-stones that mark whole ages of time. Do you remember the flames that erupted all night -- man’s red flower, as they say? I thought they’d engulf us by dawn – thought I’d wake up chased by the flames. Does the forest remember the fire that nourished it centuries back? Something it remembers, yes, Clearly. Something it remembers.