In the Eye of the Beholder

Split Rock Review, 2017

tree fernsThis path of tree ferns, regal fronds,
reach fondly for each other,
their beauty lush, careless
of what they shelter:
magnolia blossoms
a doe and her yearling
Steller’s jay searching a mate
and us, lurching toward something new,
some beauty that has escaped us all these years.

We waken to the beautiful path and remember
the tree ferns in their native New Zealand,
or Haleakala perfected by protea,
whose spiked fingers
curved in cacophonous colors,
remember Sedona sunsets rouged by red rocks,
or the peculiar beauty of tidal pools, sluiced
with green moss and studded with starfish and urchins,
remember when we were limber and lithe
as the wild ponies on Assateague,
filled with the beauty of possibility.

Look now
your body and mine
creased by years of living
and sheltered by the fronds of the tree ferns,
your elegant hands studded with age spots,
my arms with pockets of skin.
See now this kind of beauty.