Most of what I know of God
is in the pale leaves of the beech tree,
the way they hold on all winter,
golden in sunlight against drab trunks
and empty branches,
warm clouds layered
through the gray-cold of the forest.
Marcescense, the botanists call it:
An absence of barrier skin
where leaf joins limb.
Without it, release rips open wounds,
so the leaves hold tight
against the winds and rain,
let the snow clump and then melt away,
I know intent belies the science,
but what accounts for beauty?
And what in their flickering light lifts in me
both courage and inexplicable sadness?