The Five Hundred Year-Old Oak

The limbs, trees unto themselves;
as many broken as whole,
as many that touch ground
as reach out high.

In sleeves of moss and licorice fern
they rest in neighboring oaks,
in the crooks of alders.
They spider and twist
and creep through tall grass

at the edge of the grove and the field
where the heron patiently collects frogs,
where there are hawks
with tails to match willow and dogwood,

and today, for five hundred years,
the harrier quick-turns in her flight,
then lands to rest
until the wind
picks her back up

-Alex Leavens

Alex Leavens has worked as a naturalist for the Portland Audubon Society, backcountry ranger and firefighter in the Olympic National Park, and primitive survival instructor in Southern Utah. His poetry has appeared in Cirque: A Journal for the North Pacific Rim, Windfall: A Journal of Poetry of Place, Perceptions Magazine, Clover: A Literary Rag, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, Frogpond, and Modern Haiku.