big tree with swooping branches


The Copper Beech

by Marie Howe


Immense, entirely itself,

it wore that yard like a dress,


with limbs low enough for me to enter it

and climb the crooked ladder to where


I could lean against the trunk and practice being alone.


One day, I heard the sound before I saw it, rain fell

darkening the sidewalk.


Sitting close to the center, not very high in the beaches,

I heard it hitting the high leaves, and I was happy,


watching it happen without it happening to me.






Photo by Sandra Peterson Ramirez.