Drought Tolerant

By Clayton E. Clark

A Canary Island Pine, stands
in my back yard, tall as God, long feet,
deep rooted in the dry soil, drenched
only by sun.

My neighbor called the tree a nuisance,
an immigrant, was glad she didn’t have one. Love
is subjective, I guess, a formless shape-shifter
always on the move. I admit it, I love her,
my immigrant tree.

I see the tree as a her and sometimes
as a him. Let’s call her from here on out
Pine. Together, Pine watches, looks down
on the frenetic scurry of people and animals
below, accepts everything nature throws
Pine’s way.

Slowly Pine produces cones, fruit
according to the squirrels
who devour them.

Birds sing on Pine’s branches, make homes
in Pine’s ample arms. Stolid body, curved
at the hip, lower limbs droop and wave
with the weather, with every rhythm
of every day.

Summer is on the way to warm Pine who
welcomes every season, grows without
lessons, without lectures or Canary Island Pine
school, on Pine’s own terms, in Pine’s own
good time.

Pine is a tree of knowledge,
an autodidact, born knowing,
the same as my young, wild son.

Clayton Clark is a poet and painter who majored in Art History at UCLA. Born and raised in San Pedro, California, she now resides in Montecito. She’s held many odd jobs, not the least of which involved raising two boys. Exploration and intense curiosity are the driving forces in her creative work. Also by this poet: "Bloom" and "Genius"