For Darby and Her Pear Tree

How much longer can this one live?
she asks—though she’s the expert, not me—
the bark is deeply furrowed and dry
and already fifty years have gone by
and we too have aged along with the tree.

It looks so old, she worries aloud,
but personally, I feel like we’re kin—
with bark a mosaic of shape and line,
the fingerprint of an ancient design
that I recognize coming to my own skin.

And I wonder how much longer for me,
though I feel like the tree, with many new shoots
reaching for sky and burrowing down
deep in the mystery under the ground
where there’s still plenty of life in my roots.





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