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A Safe Place

by Barbara Hiebert

The silver grey branches of the old tree,
intricate as lines on a map outside my window,

are still as air in hot summer.
Yet I know water runs deep through her veins

rushing to nourish the tiny green buds,
barely visible on the rough wrinkled bark.

In spring she wore a thousand leaves,
in fall she will toss them at her feet, laughing.
The cruel winter cold will make her shiver with regret.

I know she will never willingly give up her life,
always stretching toward sunlight and new air,
her toes firmly rooted in the soft brown earth.

Teach me this stretching and this rooting! I say,
this never giving up,
I want to learn!