Set apart
from the compound
friction of forest,
a rough-barked
bur oak,
mostly trunk,
its understory.

A sapling in 1700,
it rose like smoke
from leaf litter,
a totem for those
who told tales
every episode
the offspring
of earth and sky.

Carotenoids flare
through its vascular system
in slow time,
releasing aromas
of black tea
and tobacco.

the oak endures,
a column supporting
nothing but its own
fixed extension.

The fine point
of a feeding warbler–
a drifting spark
or cursor–
ghosts its crown.