by Tess Gallagher

I go to the mountain side

of the house to cut saplings,

and to clear a view to snow

on the mountain. But when I look up,

saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in

the uppermost branches.

I don't cut that one.

I don't cut out the others either.

Suddenly, in every tree,

an unseen nest

where a mountain

would be.



From Dear Ghosts, Saint Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2006. This poem reminds me of a short poem by Lorine Niedecker: “My friend tree / I sawed you down / but I must attend / an older friend / the sun” (from Lorine Niedecker’s Collected Works, University of California Press, 2002, page 186).