Larry Thacker | The question rises

The question rises

without permission, like the sun or moon.

You must struggle with this question,

with where it leads, with what it asks of you.


A tree once stood here, did it not?

I’m sure of it, you think. I’m sure.

Look around, find your bearings,

remember your time here before.

Stare at the sawdust under your feet,

fresh with the faintness of gasoline

soaked into what remains of this

newly lit place warmed by the sun

for the first time in 88 years.

Count the rings in that discarded

cross-section of heart and mind.


Yes, a tree was here once, was it not?

I’m sure of it, you think. I’m sure.


When you were here before, did you

recognize it quietly watching,

listening to your every thought?

Did you thank its straight strength,

acknowledge its mid-day shelter?

Did you promise to honor it again,

with the protection of your company?


A tree once lived here you can be sure.

And that tree was run down and killed here,

in the truth-seeking light of day, while we

toiled indoors, choked from its view,

ignoring the machine’s threats, insulated

from our guilt, the familiar exhaust,

from the sudden quiet in the field.


I’m sure of it. 



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