Ancient oak


by Christine Pacyk



excavated to the center,

like atriums built by men to house gods

and god-like men. Look closely


as ants on arterial highways gnaw

the crumbling cavity

and tunnel upward


to where the leaf-light has gone gray

without dusk, and the tree, now

a pulsing core of tremble and rust—


sawdust sanctuary.

I stare into the canopy, try

to measure mortality and chip


away at the dead wood,

know I too sustain infinite hollow­­

places, so I press concrete


into each wooden chamber to hush

the buzz of mandibles boring to keep

the light from leaving. Soon


they will surface, will thread up my limbs,

and when I feel their stings, I will part

my lips, I will invite them in.