Against the bark

Make me wood. Make my skin hard-edged and craggy.
Make of my heart a dark, lone

splinter, the leaves of this sugar maple, my green
armor in July. Let my roots be taken under the earth

on which our bodies, years before,
once lay. Teach me the trick of not-being,

of wrapping myself in the arms
of absence. Make of my mouth, a half-smile,

numb as a berry long fallen to the ground.
And bring a sparrow to swallow it whole.