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Ode to Trees
Erica Lane

My Spot is in the forest
Where a rotting log perches
Over a glimpse
Of a scarcely lillied pond.
I go there to be alone,
To clear my head.
I stare at the lake
Until I feel convinced
That the lull of tideless muckwater
Has sucked my problems
Into the pebbled brim of the bank.
I find sweet relief
In sitting on the rotting log,
In watching the clouds look at themselves
In the mirror of the water.
Surrounding the water are the trees,
A thick crowd of limbs
Huddling in leafy gossip.
The trees have questions
And unsolicited remarks;
They say I’m getting older.
I cling to the comfort of sixteen,
Say I am not older, trees.
I came here to be alone!
I feel deep and young
When I look at bodies of water.
That’s nice, say the trees.
I look at my reflection
As clouds do, from above,
But the flit of a fish
Sends tide wrinkles
Through my second skin.
I am here to clear my head.
I am here for the stilted mud
And sapsoaked trunks
To answer my questions.
The trees are here to ask
And I cannot turn them off
As I sit on their decaying brother
And demand something of nature.
Lichen-ridden shells
Of past and present
Line the water like cavalry,
Infantry, releasing sweet grit
Into the frayed afternoon,
Sloughing off a syrup
That binds my feet to the dusk.
I want to syphon the granules
From dripping memory
But the trees take me in their branches,
Tell me I am old,
Tell me I am not sixteen anymore,
That I am going to lose everything
They say I have bills to pay,
And my stillwater crumbles like dead cement
And I am achingly alone.
My head fills with twisted roots,
This sycamore grip
Pounding my soul into the bark
Of existence like a maple spicket,
Wedged in the wrong species
In the wrong forest
In someone else’s spot,
Spewing a sap of nothing
From an arid trunk.

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