I came to see your tree this evening,
and sit by it, looking up at the bare angled arms.
The dun places where the bark has peeled off
are glowing amber in the evening light.
Upon my approach the hunters flew off –
six or seven of them, in their white wings, also aglow,
their curved heads and sharp eyes are
now scanning over the field just there.
And as I settle in, the little ones come out.
Two ground squirrels scamper to a new hideout.
Two mockingbirds hop around the brush.
A scrub jay over there taps away, rustling the leaves
that dry in the quick approach of autumn.
What is it like, to stand there, in one place, rooted,
even after giving up the pulse and shine of life?
What is it like, to watch and feel the rustle of life
all around, as tiny beings gnaw away,
taking your bones and making them into their life?
The light is fading now. Behind me,
the horizon reaches out in that same pink glow,
simultaneously dense and spacious,
as though I could sink into it like mud,
and let it cover me
head to toe,
in the warmest
light and air.
I melt into its embrace
and I am anything but alone here.
If love is a hunter
then I have already been caught.
I am happily curled into
its clawed embrace.
The claws part of the deal –
the sword through the heart.
The sword that will make me cry out,
as I will, in ever shortening time,
when the people come, and take this
dear place – all of its life and death –
and pave it over. It is not long now.
Wild lands, wild lives,
breathe while you still can.