but the trees said

 

i left and came back

many times.

 

i almost left

for good,

 

but the trees said

stay.

 

the blue mountain air

called across the miles,

 

across the

traumas,

 

held me in its warm

wooded hands

 

and breathed back

what i needed.

 

this imprint, this point

of reference and reverence,

 

takes me out of body,

out of present:

 

places me

inside

 

the portal

to my larger self—

 

the goddess fortress:

where inner child,

 

inner voices, and

wise woman

 

are all held in

unison; where

 

everything needed is

right here: huddled within

 

and beneath and atop these

great pine branches;

 

where we can

remember

 

and feel

safe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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gray squirrel in winter (for mary)

 

the trees are bare and

giving up some of their

secrets. i watch a gray

squirrel run: up, down;

 

up, down; burnt orange

leaves in his mouth. he moves

like a giant inchworm, his

quick legs leading as his

 

thick rolls follow. he has

chosen a thin, crooked oak

amid the pines and poplars.

she sways just a bit, unlike her

 

straighter neighbor, who can

sway a foot or more when

the big winds come. as his small

body scurries, hugs the gray-

 

brown bark, i wonder if he’s aware

of the rising sun behind him;

of the glow beyond the mountains;

of the great height of the tree—

 

so focused is he

on growing that dark

clump in the

small fork.

 

his agility and

grace repeat as he

leaps from the

middle of one

 

tree to the

top of the

next, caught

in the abundant orange.

 

i wonder if he’s counting:

steps, trips, leaves; if he’s full—of

angst, joy, dreams. or maybe

that’s just me. at the end

 

of the day, he will curl

into his bed of acorns

and leaves, rocked

to sleep by the wind.

 

I discovered after writing and posting this poem that January 21 is National Squirrel Appreciation Day. I mean, that’s just crazy.  I never knew such a day even existed. I think Mary Oliver had something to do with this little joke. ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ii.

the view from in here:

the curves, colors, corners—

 

forming the anchorage of

you. the angled wood running

 

down hallways, dreaming of

being trees in a time before

 

scarcity. she didn’t want to grow,

to move, to change; she knew:

 

something is wrong. she crept into

the wall and fashioned herself in-

 

to a knot: good for the slaying.

from beyond she is still saying:

 

throw me a line. it continues

to feed our gibbous infamy.

hereafter

put me on a porch

like a plant and let

me soak up the sun.

 

put me back in the

pines like when we

were young and played

 

with parallel universes:

taking the arched elevator

to whichever floor we desired,

 

trying to catch the

leaves and the liars before

mom called us back.

 

what was that?

 

that was living. that

was real, and imagination,

together; both the

 

source, and the

destination. some-

times you want to go

 

back, and other times

you want to spin forward—

but really they are the

 

same parallel thing.

 

gallery of the unfinished

the miles move like the years;

the trees climb themselves.

 

when you go, the absence you leave

behind will not last long—the mutable

 

shapes fill in. if you want

something to last, say so.

 

the world takes care of itself,

but will also love you back.

 

 

burn all the money

you write me into existence with

those beautiful veined hands;

 

your phantom sweetness bleeding

through to greet-create me.

 

this world was made to be free,

to be met head-on with abandon:

 

rolling down a grassy hill, throwing

all your gold over a cliff into the sea.

 

do you hear me? all we need comes

from the earth; every-thing we eat:

 

grown up and out like what we know

in our roots to be the ancient

 

trees of self, of

abundant anti-greed.

 

 

 

branch

she walks with flower

blossoms in her hair.

 

the wind put them there.

 

she follows a long line of

seeds trying to be trees.

 

she talks to the dogwood

opening its thousand little

 

mouths in front of her

house. she finally under-

 

stands what some one is

 

saying: look at me, talk to me, stop

what you are doing and see me;

 

go out of your way to go out of your

yard; there are more of us out there—

 

diverse kin across africa, iceland,

the rainforest, grand canyon.

 

dive in: nurture us, make room for us,

build your homes around us, and

 

we will do the same for you.