Posts Tagged ‘tree’




And though he struggles to conjugate estar

and though his adjectives precede the nouns,

he’s doing it. He’s telling me about una foto

and all its themes—and though the words

are like strange spices in his mouth—paprika

y cilantro—and though he insists he hates it,

there is a tender sinceridad in his voice, like

a tree seed, perhaps, una semilla, that has

some vague idea of its potential, but is still

so trapped in its seed-ness that it is intimidated

by trees. And whatever part of me that is todavia

una semilla recognizes itself. How frightening

to see all that we do not know, to stand

beneath it like the shade of a giant tree,

to know ourselves as small and still stand straight.

My son finishes his descripción, then smiles

at me, and in his smile, I somehow see

the roots, the greening leaves, the trunk

as it reaches up doing what trunks are made to do.





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The day is quiet and

the light is strong and I sit alone

in the V of the weeping willow


in a place where the sun can’t reach me

and no one can see me.

I pull off the bark in thick rough slabs,


and the day is drowsy and the light

is long and the bark feels rough

in my four-year-old hands,


but I flip it and find it is smooth

underneath where it touches the tree.

Yes, the bark is smooth, like my dress,


like me, and I move my fingers across

the soft side, surprised by the secret writings there—

meandering marks that slither and wriggle


in cursive spells, some language only

the tree can tell, that only I can read.

And the day is page and the light


is song and I am not at all alone,

perhaps there is writing inside me, too,

the bark thrilling in my hands.


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One Patience




desperate for shade—

I plant a sapling,

bring it water


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One Relearning

but I forgot the words

I said, and the tree said

sing without them

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When climbing the inner branches

of the largest spruce we can find,


and finding the prickly lattice

an easier ladder than we imagined,


we might climb high enough

that we forget if we are climbing


to get away from or to move toward,

might climb long enough


that at last it is neither tree

nor land nor sky that feels


like home, but our own

limbs as they find the next place


to step, to pull up, to rest.

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Still Life

No leaves on the trees

beside the ditch,

and the first snow

outlines in white what remains

in their absence.

What remains is

the dark gesture of tree,

thrust and jut and extend.

Just this morning,

Meredith taught me

to see the movement

in what appears to be still—

even a brown jar,

she says, suggests twist

and elongate and turn.

I wonder if I could be still

like that, still enough

that the snow might settle

on me, though I’m reach

and wrestle and brawl.

This is our practice,

to move at the same time

toward quietude, toward swirl;

to be the scaffolding that holds up

the miracle; to be shine and rise and fall.

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Here in the garden
the trees do what trees do—
they do not grow beyond
their ability to support themselves.

In the top of this weeping birch,
the branches are leafless and dead.
They will never grow again,
nor will the tree replace them.

I think of all the ways we try
to heal ourselves, each other.
All the ways we go back to the pain
of the past as if it has some answers.

What if we could let them die, those thoughts,
those wounded ideas of how it should have been,
let them turn brittle and gray, and when
they have lost their weight, let them fall away.

I see how the breeze moves through the leaves
that remain, how green they are, how alive.

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Here in the avalanche chute
the absence of trees. We emerge
from the deep spruce to find this bright slash—
an alley of blue bells and larkspur waist high.
How lovely this wound has turned out to be,
lush and leafy and green.
I think of my own violent uprooting.
Who are you? I say to the clearing,
myself, to the old trees with thick trunks
standing at the edge, to the litter of needles
rusty and spongy beneath our feet.

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Two Slips

all that breathing
and not once today did I think
to thank a tree


that woman
in the mirror
I think she looks familiar

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We took a ride
in a one horse open
sleigh today,

and I was one horse
and the red sled
was the open sleigh

and the kids laughed
and reeled as we
trudged through

the field and
searched for the perfect
Christmas tree,

which was not
hard to find.
The noon sun, it caught

in large facets of snow
and we sang, “o’er the fields
we go, laughing …”

but just as we got
to the laughing part
and I was belting

“Ho ho ho,”
the kids began kicking
each other and throwing

snow in each other’s faces
and tipping the red sled
so that they tumbled out

not giggling at all
but shrieking,
“I hate you! Go away!”

And this is how
the bliss goes,
sometimes it looks

a lot like bliss
and sometimes

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