Off the trail, another great pine massacred by wind
and rain. This great gray-chested body felled,
no longer a giant against the horizon.
Its ripped-out roots cemented with dried mud
and rocks, a fifty-fingered hand, raised
out of its element, clawing for the sky.
Who heard this tree crack, break; saw it sway
and swing down to death?
Nothing human maimed it, only the elements,
only life circling itself. Yet here, as if in the crook of its arm,
a sticky-monkey-flower sprouts,
soon to blossom like honey from the ruins.
I too would settle into that nesty crevice, even would have waited
with you in the storm; hunkered down on the distant grasses,
heard your creak and moan. In the terror of the wind
I’d shout out love to you to lighten the death
of your going down,
and when the storms stopped I would have planted wild iris
in your earth; soothed you with the blue peace of ceanothus.
But, sooner than any star’s light reaches earth,
our sun will dry your bones, rains soften your bark, creatures will
live in and off you, nest under your long trunk, until your remains
rise up in the heat of fire or your cells dissolve
into the earth. All of this, long after my voice has given up its song.
about the author:
Lisa’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle; Reed Magazine; Nimrod; Carmel Valley News; Mirboo North Times, Victoria, Australia; and Monterey County Weekly. She is also a three-time winner of the poetry award at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference.