The Watchful Trees

up close painting

The Watchful Trees (Ode to a Prairie Birch Wood)

Matthew Anderson Nov 2014

++

I could lose myself here.

Paper-bark peeling

white bone from the green,

your quiet, revealing

what I might have to mean.

++

Here the dead are not buried.

It’s all boom and bust.

A hardy, short-lived pioneer species

is what they call us.

Come to break the treaties.

++

My leaving stopped the dying.

It stanched the blood-flow.

You were rooted, you had to stay,

I learned to fly; I had to go.

At least if they ask, that’s what I’ll say.

++

I’ll tell them the story

of how hard you grew me up,

my birthright a knife,

instead of a cup.

Sharpened steel to hold close, in case of real life.

++

I could lose myself here.

Your paper-bark peeling

back ghosts and regrets. Such blood in this place.

Your quiet, revealing,

what I still have to face.

(painting by Janice Donato)