love poem, pt. 57

in the wet light it is hard to distinguish between the aspen and the sycamore
my skin becomes mottled like the tree bark, hot to the touch as if summer sun
shone upon it–i remember afternoons in the chess garden, where someone had written
on the black and white tile, the incense stick lodged between the paving stones–
all becomes light and air when i think of the trees reaching, bare-branching, into
the sky, and how we mimicked them with our bodies, stretch-stretching to the side,
first to the right, then to the left. we made our own language, made our own world,
laureled our own deities that had the faces of tree knots and a bunch of three
hibiscus flowers that you so lovingly tended. i sat in the passenger seat of your
car lulled to sleepiness by the movement of the car, the way my mother used to
drive me around the block when i was a child until i finally fell asleep, finally
slipping off the precipice of consciousness to land pillow-soft among the birch
branches. now i stand beneath a circle of sky and feel you in the migrations of
birds, the falling of leaves, the snow edging the evergreens, the knowledge that
even the trees do not live life passively. and the pinpricks of light in the canvas
of night shine for us as we rise to meet them.

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