When every leaf that’s going to fall is off its tree;
when just the trunks stand tall, and branches
mark their lines in the sky;
when you can see through to any nests,
and see clear the view behind
and beyond every stand and thicket;
wind allowed to whistle between and around,
and no buffer for the barking dog
whose voice echoes through the yard,
across the road, to the other side of town.
No padding. No fluff. No mitigation.
Just stark and clear and true.
Leafless trees no “mincing of words”;
revealing the sky, showing
clustered clouds previously obscured.
These days feel like there’s no running for shelter;
nowhere to hide. Ills festering un-cured.
Caught in a flashlight’s beam, are things
in place as they’re meant to be? Are we deer
in the headlights, seeking moments of clarity?
Do our branches reach strong; offer a basket
widespread, sprigs woven with verity?
Like a scalp newly shorn, what is revealed?
Winter’s sun lights lichen on bark, scarred and smooth.
Cold wind sings through crisscrossed
twigs’ lace of open spaces,
narrating a ballad of the trees.
By Marjorie Moorhead
Marjorie Moorhead writes from the NH/VT border, where she tries for a daily reverent walk. Her poetry is in three anthologies. A chapbook, Survival: Trees, Tides, Song, will be out in May 2019 from Finishing Line Press. Her poem “Taking a Knee” will appear in The Poetry Box’s Poeming Pigeon this Spring. Marjorie has many poems at sites from Indolent Books (What Rough Beast; HIV Here & Now), Rising Phoenix Review, Sheila-Na-Gig Online.