The Slow Life of a Pine

By Cat Weaver

The day and the night were as breathing out and in
Each year a day
Spring, the morning and summer the afternoon
Fall the sweet cool evening and 
Winter was for sleeping

Slowly the tree lived 
Slowly knowing the others around her
Slowly she widened and reached toward the canopy

Owls, raccoons, possums, and ants she cradled in her giant arms
Children and neighbors, loved ones in her shade

But the fire happened in moments:
Cut a swath through her world
And filled it with death and the panic
Heat choked breathing in and it drowned breathing out 
The kind air suddenly unkind

The tree sagged as smoke rose up
Singing meloncholy through the empty spaces
And the pines’ despair vibrated through the forest
Where they held vigil amongst embers and hope — awaiting rain 

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