Rebecca Foust

What Follows

If a tree falls and no one hears, 
then it didn’t fall, you’d say, but 
I say the tree would know it fell, 

and so would the hive-world 
that had hummed and teemed 
in its leaves. And the flowers

would know, each sticky stamen 
barren of pollen. Okay, you say,
then think of a rock 

that fell, and I didn’t hear it. Well
I see earth’s new crater, blades 
of grass bent, dust disturbed; 

each perturbed molecule knows 
that rock fell. Okay, so it happened 
you’d say, but not for me, not 

my reality if I didn’t hear or see it. 
But I say my reality is one web 
with strands that go everywhere

so that mine waste washed down 
a river wafts its effluent plume 
through estuary and ocean 

connecting endless land to endless
land that I walk through, the air 
I breathe in. I never even licked 

that apple, but my heel still 
is stung. With original sin, 
it only begins.