Such a slim barrow into which to stuff
a life; such a narrow beam to cross
and brace the walls. Pollarded and shallow-
rooted, it resists the winds, persists
despite its pruning. Stiff and stolid
in its ramrod stance, it stands, but shifts
and strays when no one’s watching. It sees
the road ahead, but is always looking
back. It asserts and it equivocates.
It makes mistakes. It flirts with grief and grace.
It wears a mask to hide its missing face.