The pin oak stood tall and wide, its strong, thick arms extended
a little more each year, some of them on the south side
reaching for the widower’s house, intending, no doubt,
to tap its shoulder for next year’s spring dance.
Or so the old guy reflected, looking out the window from inside and thinking of his own dance of late, some steps
more difficult to learn than others, the samba and salsa
most of all, shaking him loose from the moorings of a long
and happy marriage, the quick-stepping jitterbug (east coast swing they called it now) of the widower’s younger years coming
to his rescue, bringing him back to familiar ground. But it took
the old and graceful standbys, the foxtrot and waltz, to ease him
into the solace he needed, slowly, the gentle rhythm turning and twisting him to gratitude for the pin oak, the new, tender leaves,
so rich with news of its heritage, reaching out and unfurling
in the sun’s growing warmth.
From Best Poets of 2014
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