The Cannibal Tree - Poem by Sonny Rainshine
The newly planted tree
was devouring itself.
The newest, tenderest leaves
were surely diminishing,
and changing shape,
from perfect lovers’ hearts
to translucent lace.
But this is not a cannibal tree.
Consider a diner who feasts upside-down,
underneath its green wafer
hushed, hidden, camouflaged,
rapacious, pitiless. The color
of leaves, it is becoming a leaf
inside and out.
The planter of the tree,
inverting the disintegrating leaf,
exposes the catepiller’s secret table
and wonders how it not only
hoodwinks birds and men
to mistake it for a vein on a leaf
but also how it knows to
dine on the hidden side.
Planters of trees too
are vulnerable to hidden things,
secreted under the surface,
consuming life-energy, excreting pain,
cutting perfect lovers’ hearts
into jigsaw puzzle pieces—
Seekers, gardeners, and goumands
must look beneath the leaf.
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