I’m in the midst of a heavy deadline for my copyediting job so today’s posting is simply a free poem, one requested by a dear friend. I know it’s winter out there so use this for a mental break when the snow gets to you:
Treat Yourself Like a Tree
Go outside, closing the door firmly
behind you. Consider the earth
underneath you as you walk, there are voices
living in darkness, voices you
won’t hear, to whom you are
a hill-tumbler, tunnel-collapser, a source
of crumbs and thunder.
Watch the bushes as you pass, see
the berries hanging white
in the deep summer green, each one
bearing a little spot, each one longing
for a beak to carry it to the sky
it’s only ever seen from down. Stop and roll
the roundness between your fingers.
The skin is tight.
Keep going down the block until you find
the tree that knows your name. Its spine is yours,
it understands the years you’ve paced, watching
the little ones grow. Touch your fingers
to its bark, trace the paths squirrels follow, speaking
wisdom to the air. If you lay your ear
where ants crawl, you’ll hear
the throbbing of the veins, bird-hum. You can
rest here. Sleep even, while spiders spin
their thousand webs in your hair.
And then go home. Back
to your plastered walls, the house’s bones
hidden from your sight. Turn on
a tap. It’s the closest
you’ll get to a stream. Living water. Remember
the crabs waving as they crawl
toward the tide. They remember you.
When it’s time, climb stairs, reaching up
for what the night holds. It waits
while you brush dinner
from your mouth, knowing you’ll meet
the pillow as an equal. Don’t be afraid
of what follows. Your body knows
how to breathe without you. If you close
your eyes, what comes next
is only a dream. Go there.