Dream of Trees

—“the deepest-rooted dream of a tree is to walk even just a little way, from the place next to the doorway—to the edge of the river of life, and to drink” Joy Harjo

The deepest dream of a woman,
this woman—
received from the earth
between my toes
received from the sky
brushed by my up-stretched fingers
born in the sapwood
beneath my skin—
is to lie, even just a little while,
in the embrace of a tree.

Not just any tree.
Not the grandmother cottonwood
I greet on my morning walks.
My dream is of The Mother, the baobab,
who has stood for five hundred years
in the Ifaty spiny forest in Madagascar.
Ancient being, planted upside down
by a god to keep her from walking.
Rough-clad priestess stands—
a gargantuan, iron-gray urn,
bearing the ashes and bones of the past.
The one on whom
for the blink of an eye
in her long life
I laid my hands.
The one around whom
the arms of six stretched
barely encompassing what she was.

There was not enough time to listen.
I dream of return—
share her shade in shimmering heat
with tenrecs and tortoises.
scale her rough robes
for the view with couas and sifakas.
Though it requires the edge of a blade
a slicing
a loss and a gain
a merging of blood and sap
I would be grafted to her girth.

-Janet Ruth

Janet Ruth is a retired NM ornithologist. Her writing focuses on connections to the natural world. She has recent poems in Spiral Orb, Santa Fe Literary Review, Ekphrastic Review, and anthologies including Missing Persons: reflections on dementia. Her book, Feathered Dreams (2018) was Finalist for 2018 NM/AZ Book Awards. https://redstartsandravens.com/janets-poetry/