Just don’t say that—for I would sketch
the chalice of time, not the compromise—
for trees do fly, old father.
It’s true. The sap that
can climb the cellular ladder—
with leaves and birds, the old artifacts,
the spiders and flies, bugs and caterpillars
that can fuel arcs of light and arcs of flight—
would end with old disgrace
without your steady hand on my shoulder.
When you planted this tree
almost forty-five years ago, you were
younger than I am now. I get a chair out of
the garage and sit in the sun. I have
a sketch pad and a fresh box of crayons—
Crayolas. It is as if you planted this
selfless and leafless tree
for me to draw today. Something to think
about before we sell your house, I guess—
a breath of continuity. Hence the crayons.
Hence the winter tree starved
and waiting. Hence, something to sketch
before the leaves fill in among
the branches, for…
For it is spring,
and this tree, it can lie.