Conversation With a Tree

I was walking down the street on my way to the club,

though it was a bit early,

to see if my connection in the underworld

could score me a certain device

when I heard my name.

I looked up and saw a big face.

Tree said, ‘Where are you going?’

I said, ‘Canterbury.’

Tree said, ‘Wrong way. And you’re not Chaucer.’

I said, ‘Blake lives down that laneway. Maybe I’m William Blake.’

Tree took a step back and said, ‘William Blake!

Imagine I told you I was a reindeer or a shaman wearing

an enchanted curvilinear headdress.’

I said, ‘You could easily be

and still be Tree.’

Tree stepped back once more and said,

‘Imagine enchanted space all-round, horizontal & vertical.

Me pumping air, enough, for the two of us –

both of us, Blake & reindeer & shaman too

day & night.

So tell me what you really need.’

I considered the question and said,

‘ More so than a certain device

I need the light of one star

flooding my plum, smoke-swirled heart.’

Tree said,In this you are not alone.’

Tree huffed & came up close again curvilinear & vertical

Pointing away, far, to distant golden sand,

horizontal beneath vast night, black as smoke, arcing.

Tree said, ‘Over there. Those three figures

on camel on foot

swirled up & fishing about

aimed into a brilliance

& trudging below,

sloughing into the vast night…’

Tree said, ‘Go.

And while you’re at it, stay away from the underworld.

I know about your connection.’

I said, ‘Okay Tree.’

Tree said, ‘Okay,’ also

in a voice rough as bark

familiar with the underworld.