Trees are shocking to me
in their naked and undisguised irregularity.
Trunk hunkered down in the ground,
roots spread like eels, scrutinizing the soil beneath,
a knothole a woodpecker pecked
making a home for some tiny starling, titmouse or chickadee--
cavity-nesters in the heartwood,
a small rodent, a grey squirrel perhaps,
nestled with its young in its drey.
Branches splayed out in crazy
uneven patterns, first large, then smaller
as they reach and yearn heavenward
for the sky,
a promise kept to grab the sun, the clouds and pull them down.
Leaves, in spring just turning green
but in winter sparse,
spare branches, clotted bark, signposts to sidewalk
walkers counting the trunks to
measure their way home.
Published in the Red River Review 2019
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