In the spirit of the recent holiday (Tu B’Shvat), my personal writing post today honors the trees.
I wrote most of these poems nestled in the Blueridge Mountains and surrounded by the trees of Virginia. These poems were not written for any of those trees in particular. No, each poem was written for a different tree in my childhood front yard– save for the maple that grew out back. Cottonwood was the first poem of this set that I wrote, composed in the years before I left home to study in Virginia.
A perception of perfection:
the hollow trunk of a dying tree,
its leaves never grew so green.
Life would be just perfect,
if everything complied with seemingly.
Fresh naive growth, brightly softened fringes
encouraging touch, tickling exposed skin.
Follow the branch inwards with age, thick
and sharp with barbed wisdom. Thin dark thorns
hiding a sparrow’s nest from the neighborhood cats.
Legs that grow from the earth,
standing still, patient and pale
as though the leaves like curls
only can let in spots of sunlight
to frail twists and knobs of knees.
Mourning doves perched like growing fruit
along the branches, heads ducked into bodies
braced against the wind and snow. They prefer
those long soft needles shushing the wind, still
I wonder at the exposed feathered orbs & the cold.
A rebellious tree growing defiant,
once offering a ladder view over
the fence line & as stubborn as the
woman who planted it. New trees
tunneling under that fence to freedom.