I have come to lie down
Beneath the oak tree. The trunk
Furrowed like a shakily plowed
Field. I have come to breathe
In the sky. Around the oak,
Grasses of the savannah, pushed
Up against that solid trunk. How
Many years have these branches created
For them the proper mix of sun
And shade? I crane my neck to sky. It is
Not enough. I must lower myself
To the gravel path, flatten an old
Body against earth. On the other side
Of the trees, traffic rushes into noise.
The oak is unmoved, hands me
Its love of place, its knowledge
Of stillness, what I have come for:
To be still in the presence
Of intrusion, to look for branches,
Trunk, roots, a home for the nuthatch,
Leaves like the paws of a mythical
Animal. And, oh, those branches know
How to web the blue, gather it in.
Suzanne Swanson is the author of House of Music and the chapbook What OtherWorlds: Postpartum Poems. She is a winner of the Loft Mentor Series; she helped to found Laurel Poetry Collective. Recent poems have appeared in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Under Review, Water~Stone Review, and Land Stewardship Letter. She rows on the Mississippi River and is happiest near big water.
Header photo by Arlo Magicman, courtesy Shutterstock.