WHY WE GAVE OUR TREE A NAME
by Michael H. Brownstein
We knew the old black walnut was ready to walk away from its earth.
Early on in the first spring of its death, it let its leaves color themselves brown and red.
Three years later we unplugged all life support and let what had to happen happen.
We waited. In the winter of its last breath, we gave it a name.
Spring came and with spring storms of wind, ice and snow.
Summer arrived with thunder and rain, wind, more rain. One fall day
We walked outside, lightning in the distance, a sudden bowling of thunder,
Then: a sharp slap to the air, the ground vibrated, and we watched it lift itself up,
Throw dirt and roots to the side of our hill, hollow out a cave of bark and wood,
Slam itself two steps further catching itself on a tulip tree too light to carry it.
After a day of storm and a strength of erosion, it allowed itself a third step,
Tumbled to its side collapsing into splinters and large fractured limbs.
Then there was a silent silence. The storm ceased. The sky blued.
The tulip tree let the weight off its shoulders, eased upright the best it could do
And we named it after the great walnut, memorializing that tree forever with another.
We did not let anyone harm the woodpeckers that came for insects
Or the possums that came for warmth. We let them live and inside of the tree
We imagined beetles and newts, salamanders and mudpuppies, mud and green water.
ROOT AND BRANCH by Ruben Briseno Reveles
by Diane Webster
In the fog
tree trunks pretend
they're elephant legs
and limbs round out
into bodies milling
by Diane Webster
Pine trees clothed
inside stocking caps