Every Infant's Blood

Every tree is an ancestor tree,
not just grandfather redwoods.
Every sapling, every sprout,
carries that majesty,
the dissolution of stone and bone,
of mold and leaf and tongue,
flowing as freely as blood
in earth's leisurely body,
the oldest and slowest rhythms
crooning in its ways.

But who can sing with maple and beech
in the cold wind's demanding meters?
The crimson and gold of their dying fall
choke the singing of our blood.
We cling to the tree of our moment,
weep for its unleaving; our mothers
and brothers, so recently fallen,
neither flow in the roots
nor creep upward under the bark
nor come to rest in orderly rings.

We know where our flesh is buried,
know the place and mark it,
but also know the repetend,
know the flesh will bend
to the root, creep in the trunk,
sing in the leaf,
fall and repeat itself,
old as every wizened oak,
old as the sap and sea salt
in every infant's blood.

by Graham Duncan

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