T Begins Her Biographet

From AlphabeTique: the Lives of the Letters as Written by T.

T was a shambles.
she had a bole for a belly, boles for breasts,
and a knobby cross-line at her top
where various sucker branches had been cut off.
Well, at least I’m still tall, she thought to herself.
Tallness, that consolation, let her see
beyond the exhausted scruffy things
jostling for prominence in the park.
Now that the summers were hotter,
the younger foliage yellowed long before the equinox.

But T’s leaves hung on.
Her roots found water through the heat waves.
She wasn’t a rarity, just a maple native to the area.
She had her job: to tell the Truth.
But what the truth was, she was less and less certain.
How should I know? had become her mantra.
Don’t expect ME to tell the truth
when I don’t know what it is.

But neither did anyone else.
And don’t expect me to foretell anything!
Nobody did.

T was ignored.
Pigeons built nests under eaves instead of her.
A squirrel family had taken her up,
a not particularly fluffy-tailed bunch.
She had her share of wrens.
Gone were the cardinals, the tanagers.
Is sadness a truth? she wondered.
For nature had become history, not natural history,
but the war-filled, historical kind of history
old lady trees such as herself had no part of.
To tell the truth, she agonized,
even when you don’t know what it is…
It’s too hot to think, she consoled herself,
wait till after the equinox.

As the light waned, she turned electric orange.
Under all her green, she was still quite a redhead
after the photosynthesis wore off.
Even passersby noticed, each one thinking,
“I should take in nature more.”
Noticing is an art, T mused.
Without noting, we have nothing.
Even if you can’t conclude a thing,
but just amass all you absorb through your bark
and leaves and boles and seeds and dendrites…
Noticing, well, that’s a way of telling the truth, isn’t it?

A bit of a wind had come up.
T felt the texture of air against her bark.
Now what could she manage to note?
The other trees in the forest?
But she no longer lived in a forest.
She lived in St. James Park on King Street East
in Toronto, Ontario, North America,
surrounded by glass condominiums,
the crowds of flora that formed the basis of life
historiographed into panes.

She let the equinox pass.
As a girl she’d learned the art of writing
with her own maple syrup.
Just writing a single word had exhausted her.
LATTICE. She remembered her first script.
Other lives didn’t interest her then,
but she’d come to observe those who’d passed beneath her,
chilled, now that the days were dark.
Near the winter solstice she wrote NOTICE:
a verb, a method, a way.

Will I live long enough to finish it? she panicked.
Stop crabbing, she told herself. Start tapping.
And so she began her biograbet.
By now it was January, the days were longer, her tap was in,
turned, the bucket filling.
With this frozen weather, and little to do but reflect,
she had the time.

Printed from Cerise Press: http://www.cerisepress.com

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