There Ain’t Any Tree


There ain’t any tree

Green with leaves

Or hung with blossoms

That remembers the snow as it fell


Upon my father’s face

Or the grass outside the hospital

Where my sister and brother died.

That grass, so full of itself.


That grass

Waving in the wind

Taunting the earth

Thinking it’s free.


Last fall I watched a tree struggling to be barren.

In the winter it seemed happier,

Less leafy

Fewer worries.


Have you ever been to Mendocino,

That fragile collage of human vitality?

The trees there,

They remember everything.


They are not caricatures

Of some nervous sexual decoration.

You may disagree

But I am sure they watch us,


Exhale a sort of peace,

Grace the streets of the village

In a quiet way

Without interrupting the flow of traffic.