My gift for his fiftieth birthday,
a Japanese maple, buds swollen
and ready to release first leaves.

After planting he digs a small
pool underneath, lines it
with cement edged with rocks.

This mirror, shaped like a uterus,
reflects the tree as it rises,
the soft green lace spreading

its wings. “Womb,” we whispered,
little girls in church singing
the word, that secret place which

under the bare branches of December,
holds the sun, moon, and stars.