About the Feature

Photo by Ken McMillan

Trees talk to each other,
the book on my kitchen table
told me before I went to bed last night,
through roots that braid and scents
emitted to warn of predators.
They even seem to make friends,
encroaching less upon the canopy
of a bud, for whom they’ll bring back
a curry if they run down to the shop.
Old trees, anyway. Commercial forests
aren’t around long enough
for this intimacy to evolve, so your Christmas tree’s
definitely a loner and your Chanukah tree’s
an interesting melding of two faiths,
good on you, you hybrid m.f. I’m looking

at a scrap of fog a quarter mile off
and wondering
if I touch a cedar here,
will a cedar there feel my affection
at the rate
of three inches per second,
or if I bite it, if I tell it
I’m lonely for what it has
though swaddled
by learning yet again
where intelligence hides, how thoughts flow
through air and ground
in a way I can’t invent, only destroy. I don’t know

how I’ll ever prune a tree again
or give up on the whisper God
to suggest the engine of thoughtfulness
that surrounds us, the wombing fluency of matter
to matter in its mutations
to itself, to connect
form to form and listen
and rile and roar. Swaddled, embraced,
absorbed: I live inside the dream
of a mind that goes as far
as going goes, call life
homunculus, call all distances
closed, call touching and fondness
what they are: roads home.

About the Author

Bob Hicok’s ninth book, Hold, is just out from Copper Canyon Press.