I’ve been peeling poetry
From my fingers, from my lips
I’ve tugged at the toughness in an effort, quiet & low,
To regain the sweetness below
Some girlish guile & some softness
But beneath, I discover, I’m old,
Dried out, I’ve grown stringy & thick
I’ve plumped & shriveled & become bland
All the sugar & spice of me
Is poured out & long faded, not even
A hint of succor remains
My tongue no longer smacks
Of sap. I’m that old tree, tapped once too many
Spring runs in on Winter’s deathpose curl, its spine split
But I, I am the creak of dead limbs
Unbudding & cold & grey & stoic
Backlit by the creeping, feral sun
How is this a thing of beauty?
The dropped peelings bunched about
On this sleeping ground—
Will I ever
Wake & sweeten again?
Can the dead live again?