Long night of winter

What you didn't know
was the night my father died
I ran outside to the waiting trees

cold in their winter garden
cried for mercies and sank
into the bark of a gnarled oak

broad, rugged, towering,
took it for a friend,
spilling my grief

against its insensible shoulder
skin so rough it bruised my cheek
but its sturdiness

its blankness was what I needed,
a time of stillness, stalwart
through a bitter winter

a hibernation of sorts
through snows
and howling storms

until, naked and stone, I wrapped my arms
around an early marbled sky
then bound together with sunrise colors

shattered the glaze of glassed branches
so when a later morning came
I broke through tentative and green.

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