by John Lowrance



There's an old oak tree at least six feet in
diameter that I pass every time I run.
For years now, it's been standing its
ground in a strip mall parking lot, next to
a cramped Burger King drive thru. It grips the
earth with roots girthier than telephone poles.
Its trunk is speckled with moss like a patchy
beard grown out by someone who's no longer
interested in hiding his nature.
Its branches are knobbed and heavy, like
long, muscular arms with many elbows.
Its leaves continue to do their jobs with
the false ephemerality of an
old man's wispy grey eyelashes.
You can't believe it achieved such height
with such simple equipment.
This tree was here before Sequoyah came up
with his syllabary or they dammed the river
or poured asphalt roads or toilets were invented.
It was here before metropolitan Atlanta
swallowed this land like the sun will swallow
the Earth in a few billion years.
It was here before you or me,
and it'll be here for hundreds of years after
you and me and everyone we’ll ever know
has been picked apart and crumbled to dirt.

Unless Burger King needs to add a second lane
to its drive thru.


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