After the cow parsley, after the may,
into midsummer as pierce-eyed
as a sparrowhawk there in the ash;
where your mother returned faithfully
each day, breathing in every part of the tree; waiting for your silver footfall
and the trefoils that would flower
in the prints you made.

Not the angel at the annunciation
but the white owl skirting the borders
of our enclosed world; echoing your cries for a new time of year.
A blood clot birth wailing for completion, from the tangled ebb-tide of lapwings,
the silent compliant hare.
Not yet the blackthorn shivering the hedge, or the sun yolk celandine;
but on the common, first to flower,
your bright gold kisses.

I cut the tree the night before your birth, before light, before the first snowfall.
In the darkness you were that light,
in the depth of the world,
somewhere in the darkest day;
when earth was frozen tight,
and the moon became a slither of itself and cloud was like a swimming bear, when we brought in the tree
and gave you your name.


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