Sometimes they’re perturbed by me—
your parents—for leading you astray
when I answer yes, you can climb that tree.
How many chances come your way
in a lifetime to look beyond, to see down
to the ground and then sway with the river
of existence in that limber brown
branch, to feel the coil and shiver
of a western wind in your chestnut hair
as if you were leaves in an oak tree, too?
I say yes, pick up the gray feather there,
purse your little girl lips, blow through
the barbs. Can you even see them,
pale as a sigh? Don’t you love
that it’s almost too soft to be real—
this down from the breast of a dove?
Now the orchid tree berries, snap
one open—there, that’s just right—
within is a small orange pit. Split it in half
and look, inside it’s pure chalk white
and flat and smooth as marble—
no markings, no color, no sign
of a future that’s to be remarkable.
Imagine the kiss of the divine
that makes this resinous life.
But they say, It’s nature, let it be.
And in my heart that’s a knife
that severs a limb off the orchid tree.