Trees

This entry is part 60 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses

After a hundred years of reaching
for the same, small portion
of filtered sunlight,

these three witch hazel trunks
have begun to merge. The ground bulges
over their common roots.

Back home, you stretch
a measuring tape from hand to hand
along your outstretched arms.

This entry is part 55 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses

A brown-striped breast feather
floats down from a high bough
in the spruce grove

where some hawk or owl
plucked a grouse. The outermost
trees rock in the wind.

I step carefully as a bridegroom
over each raised
threshold of root.

This entry is part 54 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses

Harried by crows,
the pale red-tailed hawk
glides along the ridge

and lands in a stand
of black locusts broken
by last December’s ice,

one more pale wound
among the ragged spears
of raw wood.

This entry is part 45 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses

The bare ground seems
at first an oversight, then
a growing scandal—

all that anonymity stripped away,
the brown earth caught
without its papers,

and the pines like secret agents
sifting every seditious
whisper of the wind.

This entry is part 42 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses

Melting snow reveals
the catacombs of rodents.
It’s been a long winter.

Starving deer strip
rhododendrons of their tough,
cold-curled tongues.

Hundred-year-old hemlocks
lose their needles to an insect
thinner than a thread.

This entry is part 33 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses

The footprint of the collapsed house
seems hardly big enough
for a closet,

let alone three floors
of moldering furniture
and typewriters full of dead beetles.

Up in the woods, a beech tree
has filled the opening beside it
with outstretched limbs.

This entry is part 29 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses

Trees sway like drunks
in a sudden gust of wind—
the clacking of their branches.

The whole hillside
is in motion around me,
standing here with my head cold

almost gone.
How marvelous it is
just to breathe.

This entry is part 17 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses

for Gary Barwin

It’s only in strong sun
that the winter woods resemble
a bar-coded label.

Today is gray.
I pause to stroke the bark
of a diseased chestnut oak,

ridges kinked and folded,
ordinarily straight lines
impossible to read.

This entry is part 15 of 91 in the series Toward Noon: 3verses

Fresh holes gape in a maple trunk,
as if from some Roman
soldier’s lance.

The new, smooth ground of ice and sleet
hasn’t quite set;
I keep breaking through.

Cardinals peck at the plowed road,
gathering faux teeth
for their reliquaries.