all my life my father has been a hundred-year-old
tree, even in his thirties and forties. always
sturdy and thick-barked and impervious to sway.
his limbs never swinging. his leaves ever brown
and dry. an agro-alarm. he’s always needed to hear
when people are coming close. he’s always needed them
to know whose ground they walk on. whose roots they
stand on. his life a perpetual fall, brisk and
beautiful but not without signs of winter.
and recently, we that used to nest in him,
we his chickadees, who taloned his harsh and hung
upside down and pecked at his bark for years,
searching for sweet, have discovered sap.
it is sticky, and we are concerned
about what has gotten into him.