On Bark & r & I would pull it off and chew it & r & if I had the inclination. It would show me & r & new worlds and new habits if I let it. & r & I would break the leaves into a poultice & r & and let the stripes cure me; I would make this & r & a new habit and wake in bracing dawn & r & to green living and my juices flowing & r & if I had been trained to hold the Mother & r & of mothers and her army without prejudice. & r & I shivered when an old boyfriend cut the top & r & from a spruce for his Christmas tree, leaving & r & the loop of her lower half to continue & r & pouring sustenance into the air. I croaked & r & when my sons admitted shooting the tops & r & off many ponderosas on their camping trip & r & with their father, leaving the loops of their lower & r & halves to remember what they'd lost. I am not & r & a liberal, habitually, but cut off my oxygen & r & supply, and I will be.
Meredith Dement & r & Dement, 64, is "a poet, painter and potter. I've been writing for 45 years," she says, adding that she's been published "in the little magazines." Her pottery is on display now at the Artist's Tree boutique and gallery at the Davenport Hotel.
Dogwood & r & Twilight plays & r & her latest composition, & r & tempo set
for a few watched measures, & r & blind-white bellowing & r & square notes
struck & r & on a mute-brown trunk. & r & A privileged
heart & r & engorged but still & r & white-hungry
in the famished light & r & beats & r & through closed windows
at the feast, quickened & r & blood-rushed memory-hollows & r & spilling out white paper
throwing-stars, hum of & r & old gardenia songs, & r & the bright tree
feigning sight & r & staring-back-blind & r & listening.
Laura Girardeau & r & Laura Girardeau, 39, lives in Moscow, Idaho, and has a Master's in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon. A former forest biologist and avid backpacker, she's had lots of time in the forest to contemplate trees.
What Is a Tree? & r & They tell me it is & r & Cells and cambium. & r & But I know: & r & A tree is joy, & r & Tangible sunshine, & r & A raindrop stopped & r & Forever in its path & r & At the joining & r & Of earth and sky.