I approach the oak

it is big as a whale

there are nails in the tree

stupid little harpoons

bent to blazes

I look at them

and approve

of their defeat

I feel the power

of caressing the dead

because there is love

but how to express it?

I have not found the words

not without clanging

like a bubble-gum buddha

running my hands

down the bark

the heaviness of the tree

takes the wind out of me

a century

all the crossroads

taken and cast away

condensed into a singularity


on its way to dust

and I am that withering fossil too

and so we hold hands

what else can we do?

but other notes are already

in the air

“Nature” never sits quietly

for her portrait

up on the wooded ridge

a hawk in his prime

takes no notice of me

he calls out

and the power is so new

so fresh to him

his claws barely keep him

from losing his balance

where do I go

with this burst of life

while the summer turns

skeletons to ash

but to love again?

Jacob Friesenhahn teaches Religious Studies and Philosophy at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. His poems have appeared in BOMBFIRE, Burrow, Calla Press, Canary, The Lake Front, Last Stanza Poetry Journal, Litbreak Magazine, and Nostalgia Press.