Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Forever Young.


The object of the exercise
was to write
about becoming a tree
who’d been planted by a boy of twelve,
one Tuesday in March,
in the evening hours after a large, satisfying dinner; a tree
who, as a sapling
had overcome several horrid deprivations,
lies and drunkenness and poverty,
dying lawns with cigarette burns all over the place.

I’d been drawn to that kind of thing before. So in the morning I ambled past the factory walls to a splurge of bramble near a runoff pipe where I sat down to write, pencil, paper, a bit of quiet. And that's when my present girth emerged, rumbled audaciously. That's when I struck roots--pounds of stilled intention--down inside the earth.

Time sped along.

By noon the sun had pinnacled overhead, and I revealed spots no longer sprouting green. I’d thinned on top, brittled. I heard my shuddering twig-ends ticking together whenever birds took rest in my extended arms.

Soon, it seemed soon, the orange-orbbed sun edged a shrunken arc of western blue. Its lights drew long. It sunk behind the circling waters of the world. Directly, I thinned into an overgrown wind-rattle, winter thistling etched out against the moon.

Still, my inner rings were something—I am the final object of my own leafy desires—something, yes, beautiful.
Popular trends that once threatened my sense of self now had no affect, Japanese reds, the current poplar chic. I'd grown solid overnight and I liked that.

My friends think I’m crazy, hankering after this old post,
dead wood snapped and dangling. But I refuse to leave.
It’s in the way one clings, you know, that makes us who we are.

Sap still oozes from my skins.
The grass beneath me is sticky with the stuff.
Light a match. I’ll burn.
Probably for weeks on end.

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