Coming around a curve in the trail,
I see your marred bark
a testament to delicate infatuations
spanning the years.

Why the need to carve
declarations into your trunk?

Perhaps, you are unfortunately located in
a space where inspiration to erect some
monument of the moment strikes
looking out at the lake, a postcard view,

and instead of rubbing hands over your
smooth bark, soaking in
those tender minutes,
breathing in the peace of green leaves
and lull of a bullfrog’s call,
they are driven

to cut into you
to leave a landmark bleeding sap
to claim you with their name
to claim their lover on your skin.

Once there was one, each following
must outdo the last,
leaving you tattooed in testimonies of
burning young desires
expressed in hearts and arrows and
names crisscrossing

hot as the sun sealing your wounds
fading faster than they can heal.