by Doug Ramspeck
Ohio, U.S.A.

In the Christian view the tree is not the body,
so as I step from the path to touch the wet stains
where falling snow has blackened the wood,
I wonder why this trunk appears less like
a conscience than a needle impaling the moon,
which is wide awake in daylight so must be a kind
of gray abscence, a dullness of being. The mind wants
its flesh, I know, wants snow to fall in clots, for gray
apparitional arms to share the woods like words escaping
the mouth as breath. Two sensual crows are lifting
themselves on dark wings from a high branch.
I break loose bark to carry in my palm as a rough
instrument of mind, as sensibility. As if every tree
is the olive beneath which Plato holds his dialogues
and reminds us that we are all wingless animals.

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