I AM ROTTING LOG OF WOOD

MARLENA CHERTOCK

 
 

not thin, healthy twig.
My branches creak and groan

under gravity’s weight.

My bark is full of termites

eating away my pith-cartilage.

 
I can’t stand a full day

in the forest like the other trees,

so straight, so tall.

A few minutes in the forest

and the fire ants start

chewing my bark

 
from the inside. I am rotting

log of wood, watching

the other trees hook up,

make tree babies.

But I’ve never had the bark

to ask out another —

 
a weeping willow or oak —

girl or guy tree, it doesn’t matter.

I don’t have the right textured

trunk, long enough branches,

brightly colored leaves.

I want the other trees to notice me

 
down here, close to the forest floor,

but I also feel strong some days,

without anyone else, the sunlight

running through my leaves,

birds in my holes, my roots

firmly in the soft grass.

 
I don’t need another tree

to feel like me.

I breathe out

my own amount of oxygen,
carve my message in my trunk.

 

 
 

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