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There’s something about an old
Cottonwood tree…
They’re tall, which is rare
on the plains.
They live near water—
pond and creek—
which is necessary
on the plains.
Their bark is deeply furrowed,
their trunks,
substantial.
The leaves
draw me,
compel,
bedazzle—
more heart-shaped
than her Aspen relative,
dangling in the wind.
On calm days,
I can hear a distinctive,
gentler,
rustling.

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Here at the city place,
along Deep Fork Creek,
there stands an old Cottonwood.
Tall—
its trunk,
forked,
vine-covered.
A gash,
from a fallen branch,
has healed over,
leaving her inner veins
exposed.
Her leaves
wiggle,
hold light and shadow
aflutter
in the breeze;
the upper reaches of her tall trunk,
rooted in the red clay,
barely sway.
I don’t know how long
this tree has stood,
captured carbon,
released oxygen,
housed birds
and insects,
fed the creek’s riparian zone,
shored up the steep banks,
created shade
and beauty
here in the neighborhood.

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I am a new part
of her community.
Grateful to sit
in her shadow
and light,
breathe with her life.