Our theme for the month of October is “flash nonfiction.” Writers were asked to submit pieces that were 250 words or less.

“The whole thing is a kind of poem, written yes in words, but also in trees, also in people.” — David Mitchell

In a forest in Norway, a poem is growing. It is growing word-dense and line-lush. It is putting down roots in boreal meter. In arboreal inches, it presses forth stanzas, seed-coned with rhyme.

It is growing, the poem, quick as trees.
It is growing, this poem, quick with trees.

In 2014, Katie Paterson, artist, planted 1,000 Norwegian spruces, with the idea that in 2114 Katie Paterson, artist, will be dead. These were the first saplings of a library for the future. And each year since, a single poet or novelist has built that library—placed in trust an act of trust, a manuscript, unread, unpublished, and so to remain until 2114. Until, that is, the spruces are ready. Until the spruces have done their part. Until the spruces, ringed and round with one hundred years of pent-up carbon and language, have pushed into pulped-page being compositions they have for a century been writing. Sinew and leaf. Bark and bone.

Haunting is a matter of belatedness. Belatedness, a matter of perspective. Belatedly, then, I discovered the Future Library while browsing books to read, to buy. To ship from warehouses built quick not like trees, but like a click. A click. A click abstracted from history, from bodies, from the slowness of planetary exhalation, but still imprinted with those all-too-toxic words: mine mine mine mine.

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