Whenever you pass through a doorway,

a tree pops out from your body.


I’ve seen you rub your shoulder

before spruce needles push through.


Sucker branches sprout from your ankles

and wrap around your calves.


Once, a bonsai maple, fully pruned, sprang

from your stomach, ripping your shirt.


You are used to this. You carry clippers

and a hand saw. I watched you


drag an oak trunk out of the coffee shop,

limping in pain. I don’t know how to help you.


This warm spring evening, let’s linger on the stoop

and study the river where ash and dogwood thrive.

          First published in A cappella Zoo #12