Across the Lawn

Paul Willis

The clean white trunk sways upward

in come-hither fashion, lithe to the eye and limbing gently to the air.

When we climbed the bigleaf maple in the empty lot next door, or the Douglas fir by the driveway, it was but practice in embracing the human form. Getting to that

first branch was always the problem,

but once there, courtesy of a running start or a heave of interlocking hands,

we soon found grip and sap in plenty.

There was something in us that wanted to go all the way,

to take the slender arms of sky —

but something too that kept us modest in our affections, cradle and all.

And who is to say it was not love —

love in its first and purest form?

And now this whitening tree that beckons —

foot to crevice, palm to pitch,

knees still shaking above the ground.