Giant cottonwoods rake the sky, slake their thirst below dried-out creek beds. The sunbaked soil fractures into pieces of a shattered ***.
Octopus roots root out secret channels underground, unclogged by fish, debris or mythological creatures rising from the rocks. Trunks molt flattened flagstones
of bark, ragged chunks more gray than brown, more a coat of armor for battered torsos, more a pillar of steel for massive, chipped legs. O Time! Age too long, and bushy tops topple into the creek.
Leaves rustle like muted cymbals. Still, there is much to celebrate in such fearless longevity: Do not Heracles-sized branches veer off in heroic Y’s that claw their way higher and higher until
they burst through the clouds, free from the world, frowning down upon it in verdant condescension? I cannot answer. Trees soar in silence. I scoot along the creek bed, scrambling for arrowheads, for some sign
of human presence that shows I, too, belong among the giants, shooting my roots underground, rising up as an arbor above the dried-out shadows, grasping for the sweet sap of longevity. I shall bite off a bit of bark and bid the world adieu.