This body is the tall laurel stretched skyward.
These arms flail wildly,
always reaching too far,
serve better as branches to break
the sun from stony earth,
and streak light across your face.
the blending of so many leaves
hide spine in the form of autumn,
fall in phases of the year,
change yellow to orange
to brown to dirt.
I cannot be your lover despite clever disguise,
and I am too old to be a flowered bride,
whose petals you stroke and
call your lovely.
Let me be your tree.
I stand well on my own knotted knees,
my posture firm against the winking of eons.
Balance your feet
stare at my silhouette
blackened against setting sun,
touch battered bark with tentative stroke.
My weathered skin
remembers past affections,
the words carved
into trunk remain there still.
And when I am no longer picturesque
and you no longer call me darling,
I will still hold
in my gathering rings
and sprout blossoms of fruit
When you come,
I’ll be where you left me,
happy to shade your head.
Take this token in place of me.
Be contented to wood and debris,
and regret not
your foolish play with bows and arrows.
“Your Chosen Tree” is previously published in The Fall of a Sparrow (2014).