A Laurel Tree for My Sisters

I climbed the rough-cut stairs to the tree above the spring.

I took a trail I had not known. It may have been there

all along. It will be there when I’m gone.

The spring flows day and night, whether or not

we hear its trickle, or capture its water

to run through our bodies—sun and soil

will turn to fragrant sap, sweet and strong.

The tree had fallen long ago across a scar of earth,

a seep of spring, its shattered body held in place

by its own dying weight, old soil and young brush,

the moss-claimed surface revealing nothing

of the ancient bark, and though moved

by its resting state, and by every element and earthly cycle

to that end which is the only new beginning,

the tree resisted.

From the curling green grew shoots—not shoots

of germination, but of wise new growth,

of all the laurel oil that ever coursed

beneath its woody skin—and one that rose

and thickened to a branch that would be trunk and tree,

dislocated from its own true roots, but connected

to the earth as surely as clouds come from the sea.

My new path ended in a cul-de-sac—all routes

turn back to home in time—but I saw the tree

anew across the crevasse of the spring: it looked

like any other tree, and if you did not know to look,

to see it was not rooted in the ground, but sustained

in the air by the trunk of its previous life,

you would not know that every nameless day and night,

and into all the unseen moments of its time

it was a miracle.