For Laurie Essig

Gum is a whitewood tree
Good for nothing in the trade
As firewood more of ash than flame
Her splitting is an ax to hell
Stubborn, stingy, sulky pith
But left intact a graceful trunk.
Maybe that is just her point
Lithe to look at, loathe to have
Her raiment fits to slender branch
Her height the tallest in the stand
And yet no footing for a song
Men who’ve climbed her can attest
(More than I with broken mind)
Oaks are cut and she remains
A sky of leaves to regal crown.
Perchance a lesson in her wiles
Grace needs cunning to survive.

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