The Birch - Remi Graves
How does it know when to shed skin?
How to let go of a part of itself not dead
or damaged simply departing to make room for more of it.
How does it know when to drop the layer
it has been growing on the deepest inside
since the beginning of beginnings?
It’s newborn bark - the brown of fresh flesh -
is old too, stemming from the core of its trunk.
New to the touch of air.
Unburied fibre that willingly let go
of its thinness is now asked to be thick,
despite its tenderness.
Asked to spread itself around itself
and protect everything from root to tip.
It seems they grow out of their skin and into themselves,
never crying over the layers spilt.
Rejoicing instead in the stretch marks left by the departure.
The birch will not be rushed.
Its ancient patience means bark might wait
140 summers to see the light.
And still it is unbothered by the time it takes.
Does not beg to know when light will kiss its outside.
And knowing that it will fall once being born
it cries nothing but beauty still.
How did we learn to make paper from trees
but miss entirely / how to be still and unrushed?
That we gain we lose.
That what is to come is in us from the start.
That we should dance
the peeling off of layers with grace.