The Fire

Dear tree, I cried

leave a branch

for your beauty:

a leaf, a twig,

a root, a seed—something

to remember.

Because, I said

I've hid dark years under

your gaze, and spent

the sultry days

from summer heat,

cooling, keep for me,

a root, a seed,

for my memory.

And because, I said, I waited

through times of pain

in morning, and lay

under shaded leave's

patience in afternoon sun, give

a leaf, a twig,

a root, a seed—

to remember.

And it said:

It will fade

nothing in memory. But it must

take all.

After Karen Volkman