Skincare for Trees
Take care of your skin she says, over the dinner table,
tracing lines on the table with thin long fingernails, wood
Take care so that you won’t wrinkle, you won’t tear, you, smooth as butter.
You, wet slippery seal,
she says, tracing lines on my face with eyes brown as wood,
Take care of your skin so your face can never show how you feel,
nor be torn asunder by time and pain
each etching, each scratching
so that you, wood,
are left defiled, corrupt.
Take care that the seasons do not scar you,
do not wound you, do not dig valleys of grief and
longing upon so lovely a countenance, you see that wood,
at heart, it is only bark, and if it is not
worn, textured by nature then surely
it will be cut up by a knife, configured into some
strange patterning that it
Look at my face, she says.
are the valleys, each line burrowed deep into
skin, once smooth, like mine once, yours now-
Everywhere small paths, all carved up.