How the sky stays above us

I am changing now

the congregation of years

not age so much as

a ripening view

and I

have started speaking to trees

one big gum

surely hundreds of decades

I stop and look hard

where peeling bark

reveals cambium whorls

like human fingerprints

and multiples of tiny crawling things

are not concerned

I say

thank you, Grandfather

for holding up this part

of the sky

for the shade and shelter

and after we kill them

we count the rings

marvel at what

must have been

cut me

and you’ll see

rings and deep bruises

imagine what put them there

but until

the long night comes

I am like that gum

hold up

my part of the sky

give shade and shelter

to those who come by

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