Holding On

The bigtooth aspens
jettisoned their leaves weeks ago
four now swirl before me
in frigid stream waters
that run fast
fed by cold soaking rains.

The oaks, however, are holding on
Two stand before me
one with dessicated, curled leaves of burnt-red
the other with warped leaves of brown
emulating the evergreens
white pines, eastern hemlocks, eastern redcedars
that can stay true to their verdant nature
throughout the coldest season.

I stare at the oaks
challenging all expectations
of letting go the small appendages
that fed them
helped them breathe
clinging now
to some semblance
of their former life.

And so I wonder
when the time comes
will I be able to let go
to release all that held me close,
all that nurtured me?

As I stand on the island
in Atkin’s reservoir
a low afternoon sun
illuminates a wide swath of water
a radiant ribbon of light
that ends at the island’s edge
where the oaks hold fast
refuse to fall.

– Poem by Roxanne E. Bogart

Roxanne E. Bogart is a wildlife biologist and writer, whose poems have appeared in The Burlington Poetry Journal, Poetry Quarterly, and Naturewriting.com. She spends her personal time hiking in the woods and meadows of Western Massachusetts, where she gathers inspiration for her writing. Visit roxannebogart.com.