Time changed without his notice, suddenly more like light
tracing the tops of pines, spectrum of greens finer and more haunting
than tones of an Indian raga, mysteries in a needle's breath--
eyes ached against borders of being human, to know
this shade of a young fascicle at dawn compared to its late afternoon
hue, when the odor of baked pitch and resin presses up
to the canopy, or this night color, tantalizing, back-lit by autumnal half moon--
too delicate for his own receptors--green which forced his kneecaps to earthen debris,
drew out a prayer, lips fervent and wet, to just once see with eyes of an owl or hawk,
to divine from this ebony green how old the needle was, how much life
it contained, how long until a breeze would usher it from the branch
and fold it into the earth. He began to think that if he watched closely,
the whole future might spread out before him in a ray of light.
He couldn't remember when the thought first occurred
to him; it seemed now that he'd always believed it.
© Michael Mahoney, 2014