• Jennifer Carnell

Rooted


When you fell, you rejoiced at becoming new, but my roots cannot fill the crater you leave. You didn’t see how birds and beasts were nourished by us. Though stuck in the ground, we tap in the wind, which you envied for its wheeling dance. You envied the tumbling river, the calves all grown. But I remember your fragile head growing, too heavy to lift, yet grasping the sun. I knew you’d be strong. Not long, and your boughs were dense.

You loved the early summer nights, I believe, and the martyred manes of dandelions on the wind, the gully-frogs neither chastened nor hushed, the great old fir craning his head, in no rush, to measure the stars. Then the days grow dry, and we long for rain, though there’s only wind. Searching, hopeful, we sink our woody sinews, but the shrinking river packs up, leaves our dusty patch. The cows in low cadence mourn their thirst. Then the storm came dancing, tearing, toppling. The stagnant air now rushed, until your roots scraped where your leaves should have shimmered. How far your roots had grown! —farther than what even you knew. You marveled how much earth came up in the wind. Your crown entangled in wire, the cows wend through the gap you made, past flowers dancing— dangling—from your earthen roots at new angles, roots that might have held and nourished the ground if you had stayed. Then came the allegro day, when the axe swings, and your heart cleaves. • • • You still feel the sun, the shade of our leaves, and we can see you (when the kitchen window is open) white with flour or proudly groaning under steaming platters. Children dance and shelter beneath you, or find nourishment on you, and at night, you hear the songs renewed. Do not envy those that leave the dance. Embrace the wind, give others nourishment, grow rooted: survive the erosion of turning new.


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