What’s wrong with me if I feel kinship
with the humble grace of its bark-brown shape?
Extended across the litter of leaves
compacted by careless human feet,
insouciant to danger, it did not move,
even as my heavy steps approached.
True, when I touch it, it shrinks in
upon itself like some cinema heroine
examined by a fascinated ape.
But it still remains faithful to itself
to stay or go at its own speed,
unruled by those modern ideas
of useful time and knowing one’s place.
And so, knowing something myself
of another vision, before their clocks came
I say, “My relative, let me help your journey.”
And then, undisturbed by the way
its life sticks to my fingers I lift it,
place it off their trail, among the debris.
In such places we may go unseen
by those whose hurrying feet are eager
to take them anywhere but here.
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