Tree of Life

I did not see them coming.
If so, I would have prepared.
I would have made the trees grow steel-resistant bark
with roots to grasp the deep rock of the mountains and
tops to catch the stars.

I walked out through the woods and
when I returned, they were there.
The trees were burning and the hole
was there.
It happened so quickly.
I turned my head for the briefest of moments.
I was watching a leaf fall.
I saw the pileated woodpecker fly.
I heard the wind caress an oak.
I missed their coming and suddenly the hole was there.
My eyes were wet from the smoke.

Walls, a roof, floors. The hole is covered but still there.
The bird flies in circles. The wind seeks its friend.
The leaf cannot find its way to the ground.
And I sit here like a stone afraid to turn my head again.



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