I Asked

I asked for sap
drawn from a wound
I made on purpose
to drain her life blood
just a little
to render it down
to a sweet, singing syrup,
laughter of the maple
her scarlet dresses
warm and startling
against shocking blue skies
shook me to the core
before the wind shifted
out of the raw north.

I asked for fruit
her yearning made real,
she gave it willingly
or unwillingly
but I took it from her,
those red exclamations
of love born
from a conversation
she had with the bees
last spring.

I asked for wood,
she gave me her trunk
regal, straight
to build a house
where her planks shone
like honey and setting sun
with satin grain
exuding her perfume.

I asked for paper
she gave me her branches
so I could draw on white marrow
with charcoal from her burnt remains.

I asked forgiveness
for taking so much
and giving so little in return,
she was silent
except for a soft rustling
of brown leaves
still clinging to her
with snow falling,
deer hiding
among her friends.

I asked forgiveness
she gave me more;
a place graced
by her cool shade
where my ashes
could rest beneath
her welcoming arms.

By Elizabeth Paxson

Elizabeth Paxson is a writer and graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy and Minneapolis College of Art. Short stories; “Crow Baby” published in June, 2019 and “They Lived in Trees,” October, 2019 with Night Picnic Press, a bilingual journal in English and Russian. Her first chapbook, “Always Birds,” is published with Redbird Chapbooks, June, 2019. Her poems have appeared in collections such as “Peaceable Kingdom,” “Poet’s Night Out,” 2016-18, Pangolin Press, Squirrel Cane Press, and Tiny Seed Journal, among others. She is infatuated with nature in all its glorious forms.