Observe how I have succeeded, with my broad base
and tapering trunk twisting upward in dramatic form,
shaped by the copper wires of life’s constraints
or the nip and tuck of a master’s shears.
Observe my interesting bark: the juvenile pit
and pock, the abrasions of wind, furrows
of drought and solitary time. Study my scalpel
scars, how he checked exuberant growth
or my carefree strayings from the path.
And lastly, look at my roots: how the gardener
wishes them exposed, laid bare like dissected
chords, expressing the deep bond of tree to earth.
But he is wrong. These roots are really my finger
tips, clawing away at my last thin hold on reality.
Yvette Viets Flaten (Eau Claire) writes poetry and fiction. In May 2020, she was interviewed on The Writer’s Almanac by Garrison Keillor as part of his Pandemic Poetry Contest. Her poem, “Riding It Out,” was one of ten winners. In June 2020, her pandemic short story, “La Pestilencia,” was published by The London Reader.