Botanical Sentinels by Patricia Mae Young
Cedar bends tall into arches.
Dried and broken fingers catch my hair
and stay pinned as ornaments. The tree
dresses me as one of its own.
I brush tangles
releasing hands that have taken root.
Cedar chips away at my loneliness.
Flat hands wave a pungent smell
that creep inside. Windows
frame both sides. From where I stand
images float inside and out,
from one dimension to another.
The room is cold without fire.
Sunlight breaks darkness
and reflects where I have been.
Looking into light burns the eye for a moment.
Turning into darkness I remember
birth as death.
The music of leaves play,
branches tap into rhythms.
I crack old edges into new.
Fire burns them past identification,
heats them like it heats me. I stir
the ash and it filters through my breath.
Wind carries cedar moving
inside to out, outside to in.
Hands open, fingers peel back
to reveal nothing but air and cracks
on skin. Pupils wide in darkness
I circle the memory printed on each palm.
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