I never noticed this tree before.
Was it always here?
Look how huge it is, even the upper branches
as thick around as grown men—
strongmen in a circus with thigh-thick arms
holding up the canopy. You can’t
miss this tree, and yet I think I’ve been missing it
for years, driving past it on my way to work
without seeing it. Now my car is
running quietly over there
where I pulled over because this tree
was standing here where I never
saw it. I see it now, though. I see it all
now: How I couldn’t see before because
of the understory—all those stories I was telling myself
were true. All the wanting and the needing
and the dying. But now I think
there must have been something dead inside of me
if I couldn’t see this tree. It’s so
beautiful I want to die. I want to live
differently. I want to take this tree
back to my car, back into my life, keep it
always in view. But of course that’s impossible.
That would be as impossible as this tree itself
being here and yet not being here.
Which is why I can’t stop staring at it.