BROKEN by Betsy Bolton

Note the beauty of broken things: how skin splinters
under the force of growth, sloughing off in plates,
leaving the sycamore’s upper surface mottled,
bark flaked gray, brown, greenish-white.

Weather-softened seedballs—buttonballs—break
open for mud season, feeding birds, beavers,
residents and migrants alike. Still, change
is in the air—warming, drying, wetter than we’ve

known before—and forests themselves are moving,
broad-leaves shifting west, pine trees heading north:
even tree communities can break and part,
heading toward their ancient Cretacean homes.

What can we see of this future we’re making,
the mottled beauty that comes with our breaking?

Photo by Jennifer C., used and adapted under CC.