Ribbon Bark Tree

I have watched you through my bedroom window
take on all comers season after season —
thought of you as a friend

Magpies and mud larks nests in your branches
Galahs court with coy gesture of beaks
Cicadas chirrup the ecstasy of life and death

Given such majestic generosity
what makes me think we are mates? Our last
ancestor lived some four billion years ago

It isn’t as if you have delivered sermons
on the importance of putting down roots
and just staying put …

It isn’t as though I want to shed skin
for all its creped crevices and wrinkles
the way you do after a heatwave

and let lingering stray strips of bark
tied like string to a finger swing and swing
Are you even aware that they’re there?

It isn’t as though the sun embossing limbs and leaf
in gold or honey lit light late afternoon
are enough to illuminate the true beauty of bark

Rain repaints the colours of your trunk
with each downfall — hues often go unnoticed
most downtrodden drought ridden days

                            At the onset of squalls trashing your foliage
                            I want to bend and twist at the height of each blast
             dance in a trance like a whirling dervish
             give voice to your unspoken tutorage
live all that’s observed of a tree
thriving in drought ridden soil.


© Kathy Kituai, 2021