Fire Tree

"I often think there is a tree inside me."
                    ~ Sean Thomas Dougherty

Along the walk to the building 
where I teach, towering magnolias

are putting forth blossoms, though blossom
doesn't seem to be the right word for the large,

ivory-skirted cup that opens so you can smell
its dense musk before you see the clutch

of spent matchsticks at its center. 
In childhood, we learned proverbs

about the bamboo: how its thickets 
quickly surround you and are difficult 

to cut down, because they know 
how to bend and let the winds have 

their way. Is that what I'm supposed to be?  
If I were a tree or if there was a tree 

growing inside me, I'd want it to catch 
the last light every day before the world 

darkens. I'd want that light to hold inside me 
even when the wood crackles from drought, even 

when flames erupt out of every limb leathered 
from the effort to keep flowering, rooting. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.