From the loamy sable soil, you’re born
with fern frond and grass stalk, neck
tapered as a leaf blade. When you leave,
the stems of your limbs fall away,
husks sinking into the layers
of mellowing leaf mould and clay.
In the breadth of your mind germinates
another tree, feeding on the pabulum
of the forest floor, its branchlets ribbed
and downy, young shoots sour to chew.
A feathery cowl of lichen might adorn
your sternum, or pearled-grey stripes
spread around the trunk. Grieve less
as sorrow coils, quietening into
a continuous self. Panicles of muted
blossom erupt from your fingertips:
the cycle turns as your cortex begins
to ripen under the beetle-limbed sun.
Jane Gibian is a Sydney poet whose most recent publications are her collection Ardent (Giramondo, 2007), and issue #83 of Wagtail poetry magazine (Picaro Press, December 2008).