On the top of Mount Pisgah, on the western
slope of the Mayacamas, there’s a madrone
tree that’s half-burned from the fires, half-alive
from nature’s need to propagate. One side
of her is black ash, and at her root is what
looks like a cavity hollowed out by flame.
On the other side, silvery-green broadleaf
shoots ascend toward the winter light
and her bark is a cross between a bay
horse and a chestnut horse, red and velvety
like the animal’s neck she resembles. Staring
at the tree for a long time now, I am reminded
of the righteousness I had before the scorch
of time. I miss who I was. I miss who we all were,
before we were this: half-alive to the brightening sky,
half-dead already. I place my hand on the unscarred
bark that is cool and unsullied, and because I cannot
apologize to the tree, to my own self I say, I am sorry.
I am sorry I have been so reckless with your life.
Copyright © 2022 by Ada Limón, The Hurting Kind, Corsair Poetry