A Douglas Fir Lesson

close up photography of brown pine cone on green leaves

every time they visit,

we pilgrimage this homemade trail

the oldest asks, are we going to see your tree?

the youngest wants to find if he has one

as we walk, we stop to listen to the sounds

of a Steller’s cackle and the Wren’s song

the children don’t yet ask to know the names

of birds, and i hope there still time for that

they spot my tree before I do

but they won’t dash, instead

they both stand as altar boys

on the side of the path that leads

to this caved Douglas Fir

the boys wait for me

as i share my confidences

with her old bark

my cheek softens at her touch

my arms extend around her girth

why do you love this tree so much?

a good question that requires an answer

we look at the base of the tree

filled with seed-scatterings of squirrels

and her hollow middle

where she holds the web of an Orb weaver

—to the kids delight, and we look up

this tree is full

of gnarly epicormic branches,

the oldest child takes my hand to compare

it’s not the prettiest tree

or the biggest or oldest

no, i agree

but it’s my youngest that surprises me,

i know why, nana,

look, the branches on the very top

still have green

the tree is just like you

Poem by Amelia Díaz Ettinger

Amelia Díaz Ettinger is a Latinx BIPOC poet and writer. Her published books include Learning to Love a Western Sky by Airlie Press, a bilingual book of poetry, Speaking at a Time /Hablando a la Vez by Redbat Press, and a chapbook, Fossils in a Red Flag by Finishing Line Press. A forthcoming poetry collection, Between the Eyes of the Lizard and the Moon, will be published by Redbat Press, fall of 2022. Amelia’s poetry and short stories have been published in anthologies, literary magazines, and periodicals. She has an MS in Biology and MFA in creative writing. Her literary work is a marria