tree bones

I love
the flesh of trees
in the Spring

so fresh and full
like tender baby cheek
plump and downy
green and succulent

and I love the
tough stringiness
of late summer leaves
where scars
of all those summer
cuts
blows
still show

I must applaud
the strength
of the tender leaf
hanging on there
but showing its maturity
its life
telling its summer story

I see where Bella
the cat
shredded that one leaf
before I could get to her and make
her stop
crying out
as I thought of the tree’s pain

I see where the wind
has browned the leaf edges
where that one arm
hand
always gets whipped by the wind

and then Autumn
slides in so stealthily
sometimes just a few
leaves at a time seal off
become their true color
stop wearing their chlorophyll masks
and take me by surprise
the entire tree is old
and wearing its scars
but still green
with only one armful gone yellow
to mark the shifting of the Orb
on its axis

and I still love the tree flesh
that is now old and golden
the glow
that fills the heavens
love walking through
that thick amber air

I am most shocked
each year when
I look at my friends
there
and see their spines exposed
the bones
the vertebrae
stripped of their flesh
naked

can see each twist
and knuckle
each joint
and knot

can hear those bare
bones clattering
and sawing against
each other
in the night
outside my window
the wind playing
macabre tree bone tunes

the way the arm bones
raw and stark
rise from that spine against a pale
watery winter
sky and turn into hands
phalanges
splayed open and still reaching

I ask them for what
they are reaching all winter
my friends

Why
the Spring
they laugh at me
the Warmth
we are just stretching here
waiting
meditating

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