California Live Oak
96 inches x 164 inches
Gouache on paper, 2020
Live oaks and elephants, the gray
curled skin, hard-shifting shanks
and knees. These trees
never forget what they take
from earth, what they give back.
Birds land on their heads all day
and bask in sky till fog
rolls in. Then thick feet lumber
and stand while darkness falls,
trunks lifted up to the moon.
—from Say This Prayer into the Past (Cascade Books, 2013)