"The reality of tree trunks"

A poem by Kristina Simes

The way 
the sun bows to the trees 
in the morning light
slays me.

Stops my heart, full force.

As though I had never known a human love:
whisper, touch,
(elbow, hand, cheek)
the wild, erratic murmur of
my own

Maybe I need no lover but the sea—
that solitary black thing,
big enough to swallow me whole.

Perhaps the glance of a falling sunbeam
is heavier than the warmth of your hand.

And the oak trees that sing me home
in the afternoon, in the cold,
grasp and seize me—
they dazzle my path with the remains of their
scattered fragile wintered leaves.
Branches extending,
beckoning to me,
as the sun floods into the negative space
of their bare arms.

I do not know a love song that is true.
Or that has lasted for eternity.
But I know many trees through and through.
Trees last much longer than one hand in mine,
and constancy equals more than passion,
though I have only just come to this.

I dream of shoulders,
and the space they carve.
One shoulder, that I might dive into,
Nose, chin, all.

But I am content to settle for the reality of tree trunks,
vagabond sunbeams,
passing fleets of sparrows—
graceful and certain.

My love will have to come to me
not in shoulders but in wide open space.
Too big to be named,
too wild to be tamed,
too everlasting to be afraid of.

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