an elder tree hangs on a cliff edge, leans into
the abyss, pale roots dislodged from soil, claws   

clutch nothing but air. Branches severed by wind,
lightning, rot. What remains unfolds green  

to mirror grass and moss-shrouded faces
of boulders it shadows. Twigs twist  

back on themselves, tortured positions
that remind me of dark, haunted forests  

in The Wizard of Oz. As I approach
my seventieth year, I’m drawn to craggy,   

roken trees—trunks debarked, scarred,
smothered with vines. Hollowed ones, 

with a gaping hole, mouth a howl of wildness.

~ Inspired by Casper David Friedrich’s Man and Woman Contemplating the Moon, 1824