To the Morning Trees


When I leave earth, I will miss you the most.
Always up before me, always upright,
standing above me with preparations for the day
ahead, you are my father multiplied, I knew a three.
Mornings I awake to assume that child.
He ages decades in seconds without prayer.


In school, I learned my life depends on you,
drawn breath by drawn breath. Oh, but I knew it,
the birds had taught me before I could speak
in human tongue and so could sing in theirs,
appearing at the window by my crib
that we warble to each other.


my subject, I have been leaving earth since birth.
Song with me, trees, wind running through your limbs,
when I run out this morning, arms uplifted,
the first day of my life, the best, the last,
a day I lift my slow hello to in my passing.

Peter Cooley
from his book Divine Margins
Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2009
Used with permission of the poet

Poem for October 14, 2010.

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