These trees spout black eyes,
wield blunt branches like batons,
but they’re also prone to Envy’s sting,
and the invasiveness of spring.
They’ve weathered winter
as cacti weather drought:
all prickles and girth–
their bark now warms, waxen,
to the sly affections of Mother Earth.
They hesitate in the face of change,
goiters, worry of gangrene, and
the unseen pathogens of sunlight.
Porcupines, all of them,
designed to defend
with callousness and cataracts.
But down on the base,
just where the trees playfully
touch meadow, there’s a sly
gape in the chains of bark—
sesame-brown, soft, unwrinkled,
a cave opens, ready to be explored
by prime, patient hands.