I touch you gently, running a finger down your trunk.
You have knots, scars, and holes; I move my hands
across your roughness. Leaning into you, we breathe
together; I listen to your wooden heartbeat, to the rings
of years you have grown, to each of the grabbing roots
you pushed through the earth. You are strong.
You faced wind and rain, snow and cold, on this hilltop,
alone, begging birds to sit with you and lend their songs.
Branches bare and reaching for sun, you no longer hold
your blanket of red and yellow, and we both shiver in the cold,
as your fingers bend and twist skyward in a graceful dance
with the wind. The clouds lean down to hear you whisper, but I say,
“Talk to me,” for I am enchanted by your strength, the turns
of your trunk, and the way you reach for the sky. You have secrets
you’re not willing to tell me, though I throw my arms around you,
scratching my face on the rough of your bark, your arms remain aloft.
I trace a heart with my finger, turn, and walk down the hill,
stopping only once to admire your grace.