Crocodile? Alligator? (Arboreal Uncertainty about the Family Tree)


Crocodile?  Alligator?  (Arboreal Uncertainty about the Family Tree)

The tree, which traditionally only studied matters
ornithological, had neglected to ask the large lizard its genus,
and, ever after,
regretted the precipitous gulp.

Though there were ample other reasons for regret–
the creature had thrashed about with remarkable dexterity
for the barked,
nearly severing
a major root system.
(The phloem at the bottom of its trunk still felt loose.)

Since that distending swallow,
the tree had taken a great interest
in all things snout-shaped,
under-or over-bitten–

the word alone might still
raise a flutter
if it had given its leaves the slightest leave–
But it was a hard wood, and would not let its emotions engage
in the type of blow-back it associated with only
the most unstable life forms–
the unrooted seas or those mini-oceans of irridescence
that shimmered across those who waved, wandered,
wriggled, weeped
(damn willows)–

There would be–it always swore–nothing of the pigeon
about its limbs.

Though still, deep in its heartwood,
it pondered–
what had made it see such red
at the beast’s slow creep?

All it could remember was an old saw–
not something to live by–

and a smug grin that, for all its ties to the primordial,
knew nothing of the jaws
of trees.


Really more a drafty prose-poem than drafty poem!  For The Mag, a photographic blog prompt site of the very stalwart Tess Kincaid.  I believe this is Tess’s photo (as did not see other credit.)  No copyright infringement intended. 

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11 Comments on “Crocodile? Alligator? (Arboreal Uncertainty about the Family Tree)”

  1. What a thoughtful and slightly diabolical tree?! haha. cool story/poem/mabob

  2. hedgewitch Says:

    Love the cerebral activity of this arboreal being, the sap of its POV, its ‘thoughts’ slow and thick and of course, sweet. Lots of fun wordplay and innuendo throughout as well–(an ‘old saw,’ indeed.) A pleasure to read, and to sit in its shade.

  3. Kestril Says:

    Nice bit of whimsy with this piece

  4. The tree feels even more alive with your words.. Like a beast that you better treat with care.

  5. Kutamun Says:

    So ironic , this tree expounding old saws ! Arr arr

  6. Karen S. Says:

    Yes, indeed those darn willows! I like this.

  7. Tess Kincaid Says:

    Wow delicious write…oh those damned willows…fun to see you at Magpie!

  8. M Says:

    I really like the final line. This is a different wood than that of Tolkien’s Ents, or Card’s Ender’s worlds (not that I can read Card anymore, he has turned into a bloated, racist caricature), or even Dorothy’s woods. But still, their jaws. Cool. ~

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