Paul Brown’s “in the thin soil”

IN THE THIN SOIL

I.
Setting down roots
was easy as
peanut butter pie
overrun by
ants
the morning
after
II.
We grew up fast
Thin soil forced tight rings
starving circles
holding a common heart
close
III.
Transplanting proved painful
brother-husband roots cut
placed in forests made unfamiliar
by new light
where the shade of the other once was
IV.
Things came to live in us
small and fearful animals
that needed heartwood homes
In you:
A couple of red-breasted boys
who you said love to
In me:
a migratory one,
Another with showy, dancing plumage
a hidden one, sneaking between branches
V.
I am turning my leaves up
waiting for rain
VI.
Trees don’t get to be old
(ancient kind of old)
by growing under easy sky.
The ones that keep
choose unforgiving ground
a life of struggle
Keep short to duck under the wind
Keep ugly and useless for anything
but living
Break their backs to accommodate the fleeting sun

–by Paul Brown

Paul Brown

Paul’s half

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