This tree is perfectly still above me like a
meditating saint, not slapping at the ants
crawling over her. Laughing at my vanity.
The heart wood is lightless, damp, nourished
by roots pulling up and leaves pulling down.
We sacrifice this simplicity of direction
in order to lift our feet off the ground
All the trees turn passerine in the night,
their roots swallow tailed, their leaves
feathery. In the shush of day’s opening
they lift with awkward flapping in a great
train and the sky, full of the labial
blues of their passing, sees prairie below,
already looking rootless and vintage.
Like cordwood stacked beneath a tarp for winter,
I consider the benefits of storage, of inaction
followed by a brief December flare.
I long for an earthward momentum, something
to twist my body like a cat’s landing
cat-like is imparted to me. I fall
as a human body would.
I am so tired. My dreams wear me out, my body
lies awkwardly, my hands tear and
scratch at my skin as I sleep.
I can only mistake the vireo’s
liquid note shower—it leaks
the iodine red stain the forest
ghosts trail behind them.
When it rained on the oak,
it did not rain on me, here
beneath the oak. My hands
are dry, my hair sticks
to the bark I lean against
and rain travels down its stair
of leaf and leaf and leaf.