These were barely trees
low scrub cypresses, distressed by winds,
standing on sandy ground.
Even a typical wind
blowing off Ocean Beach
could topple them, expose naked
root nerves to just anyone.
But it was all we had, all we knew.
We built forts in the bushes below,
moving in with transistor radios,
old plates and cups
that our mothers let us play with,
a Bowie knife our mothers didn’t know about.
Above we’d nail two-by-fours to the trunk,
climb to flat branches, woven
among three trees, step on a live platform.
Springy branches supported our supple limbs.
Jays, wrens, robins laughed at us.
Sunlight, unfiltered, lost itself into twilight.
There, in this green world where we belonged,
exalted, at home, clear-eyed and alive.