General Poems

To Kim, for His Poem on Trees and Us as Kin

to Kim Stafford

I like your poem on trees and us as kin;
I found it in a damp brochure beside
The campus center. As I slowly walked
The path prescribed, you made me think of new
Perspectives till the campus vanished, gone
In misty greens and browns, a sylvan fog
Clouding my eyes, taking my thoughts beyond
My job here till just poetry and trees
Remained. I thought about your poem and how
You lead the mind to link the trees to books,
But we do other things with trees as well:
Like building little bridges to connect
Us, crafting homes to keep us safe and warm,
Or, conversely, crucifying those
Poor people who disturb us. Also we
Have tossed a noose or two on branches when
We disagree with some complexions. Christ!

Some say the trees have spirits and can think.
If that is true, I bet our kin the trees
Can find no use for us and want us off
The family tree. Alas, I must point out
To them a simple fact: While I can pick
An apple off of any apple tree,
My kin, you cannot pick your family.


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