Counting Rings

I wasn’t nervous.
That was maybe the most surprising
of my feelings that night.
An older version of me
would have agonized
over what to say, what not to,
what to wear, what not to,
how to be part of the conversation
without taking it over.
But she is no longer me.

And we are no longer who we used to be.
Not any of us, really.
That was maybe the most comforting
of my realizations that night.
That finally we are, in some sense,
who we have always been becoming.
Just as the what-ness of an acorn is a tree,
we have grown into ourselves,
become ourselves.

And you and I are still that familiar species of tree.
We’re hybrids mixed from an early age,
but not quite the same.
We’ve been in this forest as long as we can remember –
not together, but near each other;
growing not across, but up and out –
branches twisting and changing
and reaching towards the sky,
towards the rest of the forest,
and ever so slightly towards each other,
but never entangling.
Squirrels and birds and other life
can jump easily across the expanse between us,
and that bit of space is not a challenge,
not a torturous reach.
It’s the right expanse for air,
for room to breathe,
to move,
to keep on growing.


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Filed under poem, poetry

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