tulip tree

The leaves on the sapling tulip tree are already big enough to blow backwards. A tanager’s plucked-string call. It begins to sleet.

All the tulip trees I’ve planted over the years are shimmering towers of pale green. A rabbit’s ears twitch in a patch of wild mustard.

Lichens are aglow after a night of rain, the tulip tree’s trunk painted the same pale green as its leaves. New warbler songs off in the fog.

Just-opened leaves on the big tulip poplar, as absurdly small as the unicycles ridden by circus bears. Wind rustles in the dry forest floor.

At the woods’ edge, the tulip poplar sprouts a scarlet thorn: pileated woodpecker. A gust of wind drops a dried leaf into my lap.

A thin spot in the clouds passing over the sun gives the tulip tree at the woods’ edge an aureole for its suddenly dramatic, upraised limbs.