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Oct 2020
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.
Arlice W Davenport
Written by
Arlice W Davenport  M/Kansas
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