The tree outside my window towers over a barn. Three or four barns, big barns, could be stacked on one another like building blocks, and the tree would still stand taller. The trunk is the width of a fat woman. Not an overweight one, but a fat one with cheeks blushing like fall apples and hair curling in the particularly pretty way that hair curls around a fat woman’s laughing face. The tree rises straight and doesn’t cleave until way over the fat woman’s head. She’s fat. Not tall. And the roots dig into the frozen earth in a tidy, compact circle. With a tree so tall, you’d expect far flung roots. Not so. The short, fat woman stands on a pair of stilettos that lift thin shavings of ice from the frozen ground. The bark is laid in rippling scales. Neat and precise tilework. It is shaded in darks and lights like a squirrel’s tale.
The trunk cleaves into three branches. The breadth of the branches at their widest would lead you to guess at six or seven branches. Again, not so. The three branches are the width of say three or four baseball bats bundled together with twine. And that is pretty much the extent of the trunk work, because the tree efficiently splinters into thin branches that, from where I sit, look like a network of wetted feathers laid against the winter sky. Vanes overlap and the barbs are pulled into still patterns. A clean outline can be drawn around the edges and the branches are still like an ink drawing folded in two between the pages of an old book. Brides should carry bouquets of dry winter branches, stiff and tall. The network of roots under a winter tree runs simple and wide.
No Bride So Beautiful as a Fat One
Winter trees lift their heft from
compact root systems-
roots knotted tidily
under the frozen earth,
like bundles of trailing bell clappers.
A tree trunk is the width of a fat woman.
A fat woman is the width of a tree trunk.
A good and fat woman with fall apples
blushing her face. She wobbles on heels
that flick paper thin shavings of ice
from the frozen ground. Her breadth
invites squirrels to nest.
Brides should carry bouquets of bare winter branches,
thin twigs laid out like overlaying maps of wetted feathers.