Give me your bones and blood, your bow
so I may remember when sap ran through
me. When my tallest limbs aspired toward
heaven. And my leaves conspired with
light to spackle the forest floor with gold.
When root-weary giants leaned against their
neighbors’ groaning trunks until lightning
delivered, with a crack, its coup de gras.
Remind me how in the darkness creatures
came, cloaked in their hides, to drink at the
stream. The deer came on tiptoe, moving
as one body. Foxes shattered the night with
quick screams. And the black bear’s heavy
tread made me shudder, in case my flesh
might be ripped by its claws. Show me
how the birds lit on my boughs and gave
me their song. How in springtime tree frogs
mimicked the voice of my heart and randy
squirrels chattered and loved, filling my
branches with play. My shape is awkward.
But tuck me under your chin. If your wrist
and elbow go numb, if your fingers cramp,
play on. A touch of pain sweetens the music.
(Words and images copyright Cathy Larson Sky, 2018)