A Likeness

A Likeness
by Paul J. Willis

(Quercus agrifolia)

Live oaks and elephants, the gray
curled skin, hard-shifting shanks
and knees. These trees

never forget what they take
from earth, what they give back.
Birds land on their heads all day

and bask in sky till fog
rolls in. Then thick feet lumber
and stand while darkness falls,

trunks lifted up to the moon.

—from Say This Prayer into the Past