The stick and pink petals and
fallen needles that rain can’t reach
and owl that drops from a branch
and drifts, like a hang glider
within his own body. All of these
are the tree. Plus the hardwood
flooring in your old apartment
that you gouged with a nail
from the base of your old dresser.
And the evergreen seedling
you carried home from school
on Earth Day, damp paper towel
cupping its roots like a diaper.
You planted it near the other
evergreens, already full-grown,
taller than the houses on the block.
In your mind, each one is the baby
you held, is the sail of a pirate
ship, with a rotating sprinkler
tied on with rope for the wheel.
The tree is what grows beside
the house you lived in until you
were twelve. It has not known the
top of your head for decades.