Does the oak tree count the days
With the mother who mourns?
Does he, too, watch and wait
For the Earth’s complete orbit?
Does he look away,
Afraid of and aching from, the date that looms?
Or does he lean into it,
Accepting and open to what a year might mean?
For he was also cut down, insides exposed,
When the little boy died too young.
Though he has weathered droughts of summer and snaps of winter,
The heat and chill of this death
Was too much for even an oak.
But he keeps growing,
In hopes that he will once again
Have shade to share.
Now as the Earth returns
To its place marking the day,
The mother inside the house
Casts the last of the stitches
Needed to knit together the broken circle.
The tears of the mother wet the yarn,
While the tears of the oak wet the ground,
As they remember all that was.
She stares out her window,
The fire of hell
And the dew of heaven
Still fresh on her skin
From this day, one year ago.
And she sees her mighty oak,
Now just a stump,
The remains of pain that slashed.
So she counts, and stitches,
In the great shadow of this stump.
For it will take more than a year
For a mother and an oak
To stand tall again.
Mother and oak,
Cut down, but still alive.
Weeping while reaching,
Remembering while rejoicing.
Crying while counting,
As the days make a year.