Encircled by his past, silvered branches
like antlers protrude from stippled bark,
a stag who never shed a single year’s
rack in the mating crash, wreathed in a
lifetime of bone, a skirt of bleached
limbs hanging like swords struck back
into stone. Do these low branches know
they are ancestors of needle-tipped cousins
far above, who grasp light through island
fog? Did this spruce assume greatness from
the start? Not scoffing off childish boughs,
like a painter who stored every sketch, or
a traveler who hoarded each map, the spruce
accumulated an ascending stairway of memory.
The Ol d Sp r uc e
Spruce. Fishhawk Point 136 / 137
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