You are rooted in old soil, spread wide and solid,
broad-boled and fecund, full-round and middling tall,
greens and yellows of a summer's day,
browns and reds of autumn.
You play your colors well.
You issue no disclaimers.
I live in you. I swell and pose, scaly emerald against
an April leaf, polished ruby glistening
in October's final glow.
I am your echo, your sycophant, your morning lover,
caressing you in the high places,
brown fingers grasping at your dark skin.
In the springtime, when I am mostly green
you hide me in your leafy flanks,
the tree snake gliding by.
In the fall when I am burnt and brown, you cover me
in your tired dresses, no easy prey for the hungry owl.
When December roars his pleasure, you invite me in,
to enter the secret places, nooks and crannies carved
to fit my long and slender body.
You hold me to your bosom, casket and shroud,
in the long winter of my expectations, until I make
the ultimate, most terrible disappearance.