Wicked is the crackle of oaken branches
centuries after youth’s good-bye.
The mighty specimen shivers in unblanketed
chills, icy roots immured in frozen tundra
like Fortunato in the cellar wall – but
no casque’s fable leads this oak astray.
Willingly, as if trying to reach for that sun so axially distant,
it pulls shriveled tendrils from cracked earth
and lays its two hundred feet across the wooded bed of
memories – children laughing, lovers shivering,
bigots lynching, widows crying.
It will lay torpid for one week,
before blissfully returning to the soil from which it sprang,
to which it will always return, and treefall –
once again – will winter on.