The Knowledge of Trees

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We come to the knowledge of trees, under
the limbs, under the leaves – contour of crown,
shape of trunk, feel of bark, and then beneath
round circles marking not only age but drought
and flood, rubbings of deer and others drawn near,
the parasite's bulge, knot tied where worry first
indulged, now forgotten, left behind by arms
that reach toward sun, light that speaks, wind
that blows, leaves whose shapes shift from tree
to tree, the season, the understory, where roots
push out, some down, in a language forgotten,
a script buried far beneath the ground.

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