A big-leaf maple imprints
the pronged shape, the vein-tracery
of its deciduous leaf-children
into my eyes.

Two barred owls call
back and forth, posing a question
off to my left, its answer
far to my right.

A sister who echos my aging bones,
the wind-swaled fir
first moans, then creaks.

What to do, but invite them all
to come and live
                               here, inside me?

I taste tannin, smell resin
in each out-let breath. My inner ear
rings with the tongue of raptors.

Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita, has seven full-length books of poetry, most recently One Small Sun, from Salmon Poetry in Ireland. A Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, she received the 2006 Holbrook Award from Oregon Literary Arts. In 2013 she was Willamette Writers’ Distinguished Northwest Writer.