strangling vines


By Mike O’Connell
ivy creeps up the big tree
tapping nutrients on its way
up reaching for the sun
not caring it s on a slow
death march taking the
crowded leaves with it
to the next incarnation
slowly growing but
out pacing the tree
it has mortally wounded
to insure its own survival
roots of the vine strangle
pathways to freedom
(as free as a tree can be)
little caring for the fate
of the leafy snake attacking
it from every side accepting
its role as terminal host
to the warming climber
drinking her sap until
sated stealing her water
until she all dried out
a pathway for sanctuary
for insects hitching a ride
on the doomed conveyance
already planning the assault
on the next tree on the
invisible schedule resting
in a wavering log that only
the forest can know
keeps for reference coded in
language only the forest can know
knowledge that only trees can know
ivy married to the tree
until death do them part


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