Sycamore Higher than our house, one foot in a crook, another perched on a branch, but barely, the whole tree swayed in a good wind while sixty feet below my mother shouting things it’s lucky I couldn’t hear to get me down, but from such heights I could see clear to Parker Street, the old stone house where Darin lived until his father died, and then the shopping center and the woods that climbed up behind them like a storm cloud, something worth knowing moving inside it, something you could know a little about by watching the tops of trees like an equal.
Sycamore II Some of the oldest trees in these parts, seed pods big as goat balls. They shed their skin in patches like iguanas, and the old ones, that sentinel tree along the dark part of the Bushkill, they split their trunks into caves big enough for a child to hide. My grandfather showed me one along the Delaware older than the Constitution, and when I squeezed inside, heard the buzzing of bees above my head. I thought it was voices, all the small animals that hid out fire one time or another, history whispering its needs from the wood, and when I close my eyes and think of him, crooked as a branch, I still hear their warnings in my head.
From the Author: Lately I’ve been writing a lot about trees, especially trees that stand out as important in my life. OK, that may seem a little silly, but sycamores have always been among my favorites. Whenever I’m hiking or driving around, I make note of the trees and think about how much passes on their watch while they soldier on, silent witnesses.
Grant Clauser is the author of five books including Muddy Dragon on the Road to Heaven (winner of the Codhill Press Poetry Award) and Reckless Constellations (winner of the Cider Press Poetry Award). Poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Cortland Review, Greensboro Review, Rattle, Tar River Poetry and others. He works as an editor and teaches at Rosemont College.