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  • Writer's pictureErrol Rubenstein


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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