Napo 5

I'm pretty beat today. I didn't get very good sleep last night because B came home from a trip at 3am and woke me up. And then I couldn't get back to sleep. I had appointments to meet with students one-to-one in my office from 8am-5:45pm today to go over their research papers. And, to top it all off, I had to observe a colleague's poetry class from 6-7pm.
Upon getting home, I had a bunch of housework to do in preparation for my trip to Scissortail, plus packing and now I'm just exhausted.

However, I was able to sneak away for a bit and write a little. Today's prompt was to write about a plant, animal or landscape that's familiar to you, kind of in the style of Mary Oliver. I found myself writing on campus at UTRGV under an oak tree near my old dorm room. And I was thinking, damn, this tree has seen me through so many chapters of my life. I was such different person then. And the tree? Well, it's probably gotten a lot bigger, shadier, and leafier. Anyway, that's what inspired this poem:

Under the Live Oak

How many
Years has she stood
And watched life

Happen as her truck
Widened with rings,
Ants climbing her furrows
Of bark, the spring passing

As lovers stroll
Through her cool shade,
As doves mourn in her foliage,
as kisskadees sing.

April’s wind thrusts leaves
Into a gentle sigh.
Each year brings
A chance to stand

Taller, to reach
Up into the boundless
Texas sky. The live oak
In its immense patience

Illuminates with the sunset,
Sings with the grackles,
Celebrates a first kiss
By tossing petals to the breeze

That float into my hair.
Foe eternity
she stands tall, dressed
in the season. Catkins

cascade like curls,
Seed pods ache to drop
Into eternity
Of El Valle soil,

For the warm embrace
Of sun and rain
To be swallowed

Like day by night.