Today’s the day we’re going to the doctor, and I’m hiding in my tree.
I beat my way through the little abandoned plot, the tall dry grass and thickets of clover flowers tickling my bare, dusty legs. Late summer, and the air’s thick with palpable, golden heat, the deep blue sky curving away above my head.
I push through the long grass to the small spot I’ve cleared away around my oak tree, decorated with chips of colored china, chains of metal bottle caps, and little sculptures of smooth gray rocks the size of my palm, balanced precariously one on top of the other.
I hike one bare foot up in the crook between the two main branches of the tree and pull myself up to my favorite branch, the tallest one that’s thick enough to bear my weight.
I pat the tree. I’m high, too high, but I know I can’t fall. A light breeze lifts my dark braid from my neck for a moment, and I smile. The tree won’t let me fall.
“Hi, tree,” I tell it, stroking its mossy bark. “We’re going to the doctor today.”
The tree rustles its leaves softly in response.
“Personally, I’m dreading it,” I say, a great sighing poof of a sentence. The street is heavy with silent heat. I feel like my tree and I, we’re the only ones alive.
I spot a small daisy, blown into the tree’s ensnaring branches by an afternoon wind. I pluck it out of the tree’s grasp and tuck it behind my ear.
I sigh and hug the tree. I don’t want to let go, don’t want to go to the doctor. I stroke the tree a moment, and calm myself, and feel, for a moment, serene.
I turn my gaze towards the harsh and knowing sky and whisper a few lines out into the world.
Plant a thimble
a lock of hair
moldy gloves of lace;
Grow a dimple
with great care
right there on your face.
The tree nods in approval. I grin and say, “You liked that? No one else did. Not even my writing teacher.”
And then I hug the branch and whisper to my tree, in thoughts.
I tell it, half reassuring myself, that somewhere far across the world, someone heard my poem.