Marisol. Strange to have named this stunted tree
for a suicidal eight-year-old I haven’t seen in years –
surely she doesn’t remember me, yet here she is,
bent almost parallel to the ground, three thousand miles
from the children’s unit. November rain
in the last few coppery leaves. And the absurd
little grace notes of lichen and moss. Olive trees
in Tuscany have this same stubborn shape.
So do gnarled pines in T’ang Dynasty paintings.
A Taoist Italian tree in Donegal with a Puerto Rican soul:
I know I’m home when I reach this crooked rowan.
Axe-marks a quarter way through the trunk:
why would anyone want to cut down
one of the glen’s only trees? Marisol, I doubt
things will get much easier – even in summer
this rowan can’t offer more than partial shade and thin
sweet music in its branches. Downhill, the smooth
scar of the disused railway disappears
into the bog. Nothing much left in this gale
but one hobbled tree. From which a girl might step.