An Old Tree, Rouge Valley
The parking lot, the helpful signs
there is tangle and breaking apart,
river surging thru root notes,
some nicely dressed people noticing,
their blacktop manners sublimate bush,
want of a field guide, names, a tree
gnarled and wide, opposing the sky,
it’s ancient siblings mast and beam.
A hiker stops to count into the bark
trace back scores of spent settlement,
cutting, sweat colonized forest,
mistakes were common: this oak missed.
Mud worked by neoteric cleat-marks,
red, magenta, purple, blooms punch up,
the path tamed to this kinder tread,
polite invasions of contested ground.
Published in A complete handbook for survival in the urban wilds Cactus Press 2009