Jim Dott
Tree, An Etymology

touch wood
forests breathe
but timber is felled
the dryads that once dwelt there gone
now strangers, commodities, cloned, cut down, split, burned green
roots descend to the world below, the trunk holds this life, the canopy spread out above
the line which divides trees from shrubs is arbitrary, "I know one when I see one."
depends on habit not size, a tree has a single trunk
while a shrub usually has several stems from the same root and each without a proper trunk,
Pando, The Trembling Giant, an eighty-thousand year-old grove of aspen growing from
the same roots, trunks sprouting, falling, re-sprouting,
shrub-like trees, tree-like shrubs, lilac with a single stem thick as an arm,
old bonsai pine wired into a wind-bent pose, only inches tall,
the canopy opens to the world beyond, what's to come, all that's gone, in this moment
linked by respiration, light's reception, rooted depths
sun on leaves, branch embracing air
"I know you," now speak
your true name
touch wood