by Barbara Ruth

Here on my patio
11 AM on a Thursday in July
not too hot, not too much noise from the street
I survey the five trees who live with me.
Three the same, two singletons:
I’ve lived here three years and still don’t know the names for them.
Taxonomy in flora: why is it so hard?
I hope these trees were here before the asphalt
before the triplex came to be.
I like to think the trees remember back to then
but maybe it’s the people who lived here before me they remember:
how they laughed and yawned and shouted
what they did here on the patio.
Squirrels and birds and cats who have frequented the trees where they push to sky
all these are marked.
Most of all these five know their own histories,
their treeness. Sun. Dark. Wind. Rain.
Leaf, decay, turning bare, then leaf again
the wheel of the deciduous.
So easy just to be with them,
my judgments about trees do not arise so quickly
          could it be because I cannot name them?
I am content to let them tree.
Just now the leaves are jade, only
here and there a few have yellowed,
a few shake slightly in the rising breeze but
most are still.
This is the life I visioned for myself
living here
writing on the patio, communing
with my trees.
I find so many reasons not to live this life I longed for.
Beside the next to largest tree
a tiny new one sprouts, a foot tall.
If I were the person I sometimes
pretend to be
I would carefully uproot it. Replant it where it has
the room to grow.
If I were the person I may yet become
I would uproot myself
replant myself and see how I might grow.
Instead I wait. Watch. Write.
Something will happen next. And something
else. And then. And then.
Maybe these decisions in uprooting, transporting, replanting
are not necessary
maybe here is where we’re meant to be
for now.
For now
it is enough
to be here on my patio
with the six trees who live here.

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