the winter oak
The brown, gnarled leaves of the oak tree
defy the winter. A slight gust, and they land
on the snow, swirl around and settle at its trunk.
After stiffer wind the winter oak arms itself against the ice.
When we feel the cold, dry bark, we can
make out traces of ants and insects. For
hundreds of years this tree has defied the cold.
Its roots are much older than the fence posts
that seek to encircle it. The oak
is owned by no one. It is a community
of cellulose, field and birdsong. Humanity
comes far down the list. We have to tip back
our heads to see its crown towering above us.
A network of branches, coexistence and leaves.
The world freezes to ice from time to time. The
winter oak resists, as if death were at stake.