I am the braided bark
of the walnut tree,
brow furrowed against the cold,
contours recast in slivers of light
left by the sun in its rush
to finish the day’s work.

I stand ready to yield my stories
as the elders offered
before life taught me to listen.

I am rooted in memory’s path,
nicks and scars my diary of days.
In brittle aging I still bend
with the forces that someday
will find their opening
to take me down.