is weathered skin

veins on the old man’s hands

warts on his face uneven

against his stubbled cheek.

Bark is hackberry bubbled hardness

white wrapped smooth of

birch, stark as kabuki above

fans. Ridges and runnels for

sliding drops of ice burdened

rain around bore holes

from woodpecker and nuthatch.

Bark is meant to touch

and make a rubbing on

the palm, to close, clench and

own the resilence sure as

hickory, hard as oak.