my desk of forty years where I have been
what I am, a poet. It is oak,
a sweet yet solid wood, willing to take
the pounding poetry requires.
I can’t say it has aged over the years —
it looks today as it looked then, used,
squat and wide, a good foundation.
Not a boat anchor, but it holds
me steady. Sometimes, when the wind is right,
it wants to fly, and I fly with it.
Mostly, we touch, with my farmer fingers
put to the grain of it, hoping
to know all the wood knows. Hoping
to feel the strength of that tree in hard wind.
Hoping to hear the promise made
when God said to it: Be Tree. We both
move a little slower now, with age,
as if our atoms contract, collapse,
compact, and it’s no longer so easy
to raise a cry of praise and to sing
of the new day, of love, of this life
spent and re-spent among our certain friends.
When I die, I beg you then to burn me
on a pyre fashioned of this old desk
and listen for the secrets it gives up.