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J.P. Dancing Bear-V

Gacela of Rememberance

          for Ashley Schaffer


What the birds have done is bury love behind crimson

curtains so that there is always a tree to honor

the elaborate root system left behind.


Let no axe or chainsaw come between loving

memory and the living. One never counts the rings

of years on the stump-corpse—there is no time


for such detailed pettinesses. These birds say,

let memory be a golden crown—complete

with halo—behind the royal red robes.


When we pull back the rolls and rivers of fabric

we reveal the riches, the riches of our lives. We

remember the splendor of the spirit tree.