Alone in a field, it grew
in every direction, asterisk
of wood. If it were fireworks:
chrysanthemum, crosette, palm, peony.
If emotion: surprise, joy, optimism.
If vocabulary: fractal, excrescent.
A philosophy: If growth stops
in one direction, try the other.
Lean up from gravity.
Make more and lower branches,
holes, snags, shelter. Home
to invertebrates, thirty times
the birdsong of skinny trees,
sixty percent more mammal scat
than in crowded upstart copses.
Sieving the wind for spare kites.
Named for its lone-ness, its greedy
stance towards sunlight, the one tree
left for shade in the field, it’s often
crowded by riotous saplings, shaded,
obsolete, soggy, mossy where light
once shone, pinnacle, now decrepit.
Leave my ashes in your daddock,
rotten tree-hollow, let me rise up
an inch a year, nestle downy woodpecker
chicks and termites. Let me belong again.
Tina Kelley’s Rise Wildly is forthcoming from CavanKerry Press in October. Her earlier books include Abloom & Awry (CavanKerry Press, 2017), Ardor, which won the Jacar Press 2017 chapbook competition, Precise (Word Press, 2013), and The Gospel of Galore, (Word Press) winner of a 2003 Washington State Book Award.