Deborah DeNicola

(Richland, Washington)

The Tree at Casa Cara


Just off Route One
before Tigertail Corner, down the street from Casa Cara,
there's a gargantuan banyan

with limbs like Gothic buttresses.
I step in, genuflect, walk the labyrinth of shadow,
and I am once again at Chartres. No cars come by. The bells

of birdsong cease and all is pagan
subtext. I am at worship, welling at the root
with the woivre underground. As leaves of blue

shoulder spires, light sculpts with golden tongues
as if the Madonna deep in the crypt, in sync with me,
rejuvenates. And I don't know if I have penance or license

here in Miami's medieval groves where suddenly centuries
flow and coalesce. Early in adolescence, safe
behind the hedge of our suburb's borders,

I wandered with him to find a place to lie
and kiss. There was no canopy like this but we erected
pleasure in the hammock of a willow. I would have sworn

vows to the tree‘s virgin goddesses, but for the body's
coveting touch, soft branching of skirts that rush
and juncture, here and here... though I have as much

these years after lust—summoning rapture
below and above. It took generations
and scaffolds and fires, great wheels, Black

Madonnas and Templar monks—lifetimes
to raise that cathedral to its finish. And while
clouds burn off, the tree at Tigertail flourishes

down dimensional hallways while the tablet
of my hand glows, alchemical, from cobalt
to emerald. His name was Jim.

We were so very young, domed
beneath the natural burgeoning,
past the pillars into the nave.

Submitted: Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Topic(s): Nature


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Poet's Notes about The Poem

This Poem won First Prize from Carpe Articulum's contest. It is an actual tree in coconut Grove. i wrote it while staying there in Cara's casa.

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