Backyard birch,
brittle and steadily peeling,
with every harsh
blow it sloughs debris.

The weathering
of decades has twisted
its chalky spine
beyond straightening.

Having outlasted
droughts and winters’
bitter winds,
submissively, it stoops.

The arthritic ache
of gravity’s persistent
wrenching has
gnarled its fragile limbs.

Never majestic,
and certainly not burly,
how lost it seems
among towering pines.

And yet, the chosen
throne for royalty, come
dawn’s arrival,
it hosts a cardinal’s song.


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