Treescapes, South

Longleaf Pine

Slivers of life, bundles 
and rolls and bags. 
Subtle, Subtilis
finely woven 
ground traps, 
hiding places. 
Did you know 
the needles make 
baskets and soft paths 
as well as paper cuts?



My mother had a pair of ten-foot 
clippers resembling giant tweezers, 
and with them she’d snip the blossoms 
way high up. They’d fall into our arms 
mostly, some hit the ground, but 
we took care not to bruise or lose 
a petal of those openhearted gifts, 
that consecrated beauty.



What a pelt of soft hurt 
those berries could be— 
small golden projectiles 
to aim at the enemy 
or squash beneath 
your feet. Do you prefer 
to climb for assault 
or hover below 
and cover your head?



The crown of thorns 
and Christ’s wounds: 
The flowers little bloodstained +’s. 
I touched the hurt to see 
if the scarlet would smear 
and make me part 
of that tree. 
I don’t think I thought 
to pray.