timber by Leeanne Seaver


the quiet patience of chinquapin, chokecherry . . . .their years in nesting circles…each
of black tupelo, mossy oak cup, slippery elm…none
of us remembers except Ailanthus, the tree of heaven, but
in my third springtime I carried a baby blue jay through pilose…climbed
a pine and gave her back to her mother
…all the other years …after the clearances
I carried myself adding layers
of hackberry, hornbeam, catalpa pods opening…closing…marcescent…
counting the rings of each new start…
pedicel from a conifer bog… . . . .nannyberry hear me
…my quiet noise
. . . .…what if I lit a match? . . . .what if I took an axe?
during the sap season the maples dripped
from what was carved there…into my skin
…sweet as the fingers of a little girl…
then hardening

by Leeanne Seaver

Editor’s note: My botany classes are far behind me, so much of this poem required some time spent on the interwebz looking up word definitions. This time was decidedly well-spent. The poem’s specific references serve as small doors into the world of the narrator and her story of plants and trees, and why they matter.

Author’s note: In the Schoolcraft Library’s rare books room, Trees of Michigan, is an exhaustive record of hundreds and hundreds of native trees, many now extinct.

One thought on “timber by Leeanne Seaver

  1. Pingback: the sound of my own voice | I was told there would be no math.

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