Friday, July 23, 2010

Living In the Trees

For twelve years I lived in a tree,
in winter I shared breadcrumbs
with birds on bare branches,

then bloomed with the magnolia,
matched wits with wasps,
sensed the blurry bats
sweeping mosquitoes.

Beneath my nest
a tangle of thorny roses
formed a wild jungle
with the raspberry bushes
& unmowed grass.
Raccoons, rats, cats
fought for territory
in murky tunnels,
I heard their shrieks
& congratulated myself
on my perfect perch.

Through the summer I loved
beetles & cicadas
singing near me
without my knowing their shapes
or certain how & why
they made their music.

Often late at night
I looked for the lights
of others like me living in trees,
I felt safer when my darkness
was patterned with shadows.

A season came when the leaves fell
& I fell along with them,
fell from my tree
like an ordinary apple
that had clung to its branch
too stubbornly
& had been left to ripen
beyond beauty & taste.

Perhaps I belong on the ground
dragging my knuckles as I walk,
but I believe I might have climbed higher
& become a chattering monkey prince
or at least a mockingbird.

Whenever I look back
I find myself looking up
for a home someplace above me.

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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