For three years now the tulip poplar sets
spiky blooms at the tip of each uplifted

branch, placing bets in earth’s casino
doubling down her starlit happy house

of cards, holding an ace, drawing a trey,
counting the weeks since groundhog faced

the sun and lost his place in the whirling
wheel of fortune. Poplar splits her hand, cuts

the deck with care, offering only as much
as she can afford to lose, saving seed

another year, losing flowers to the wind
and tide, no re-deal yet, while in the sky

a Cheshire moon grins, sly, subtle imp,
unconcerned above the treed horizon.