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.