It was the trees, their amazing xylem and phloem.
It was the paper-thin cambium layer that made both wood and bark.
It was the leaves that took in carbon dioxide, released oxygen,
and sent the sugars down. It was the sugars, for sure, that ran
everything, the result of all that tossing around, that sucking in
rain, that fluttering evaporation. It was my first Pepsi, its sugar-
fizz, and the frozen orange clouds of the Dreamsicle, the slow
caramel centers of the Milky Way, the pure refined sugar
of them, concentrated, lighting up my body, for I was then
growing like a tree, wanting to get somewhere fast. It was my
mother and my father, the parts of me pushing and pulling,
the strain, the gathering into a bud, into the breast-buds,
into the flowering, the sugary colors of my flowering,
the Cover Girl Hot Pink lipstick, the henna hair rinse, staining
my fingertips red. It was so far away, so far from the tip
of a tree to the ground, yet the waters traveled through the narrow
tubes and arrived from roots and leaves, and the trunk slowly
thickened with its quiescent heartwood that shored up
all the rest, that was, really, quite finished with all the rest,
that let itself be wrapped by the sugar-hyped layers, so it could
think. It was not really thinking. What was it doing,
not bothering to call itself happy or sad?
Poems from No Need of Sympathy