My First Forest
// S.K. Tatiner
It is always night on this trip, always
snowing; street-lit halos of snowflakes
bless my father and me as we pass
on our way to the chain-linked lot filled
with rows of cut spruce, pine,
and fir from Vermont. The front is bustling
with customers looking for help. My father
moves toward the back and I follow.
He needs no help. He goes to a tree
and leans in to smell the cool, sharp
green. He turns his feet out
like the Midwestern farmers he came
from and walks down the row.
He pulls a tree forward with a shake.
For him, it opens into a perfect cone.
I stand ten feet away and watch:
Moss and lichen start to crawl.
New growth wriggles through dead leaves,
releasing a sweet fragrance from the earth
that makes me dizzy. City lights
flee a new sky staggering
above me suddenly with his stars.