Self Portrait as a Maple Tree

My hands are a pair of empty bird nests
outstretched to the world, waiting to be
filled by a choir of birdsong.

Let the vacancy in your heart lead you
along the magnetic avenues of earth’s longing,
migration guided by the coordinates of faith.

The blossoming is welling up inside me.
Sap flows from my heart to my fingertips.
I embrace my purpose, to be your sanctuary.

Bring me your assortment of wild things.
Your black bear fur, oak bark, maple twigs.
I surrender my limbs for your building.

I quiver with joy at the thought of your trust.
That you have chosen to be a homebody
inside the sanctuary of my cupped palms.

Little one, I give you my bowed crown,
snare of my beard, shelter of my branches,
and the sturdiness of my trunk for your protection.

I am prepared to endure gnarled ropes of lighting,
plagues of hunters searching for new tree stands,
and the gnashing axes of woodcutters.

Bring me your children in their cribs,
tucked within blankets of yoke, dreaming of flight,
exploring the buoyancy in their bones.

My hands were created to be empty,
misted with rain & speckled by lichen,
only to be filled with their birth.

The inexplicable hope of your singing
is the good medicine that healed me
enough to stand and await your arrival.

As your music crescendos across the field,
I celebrate every miracle, large and small.

Christian Sammartino is the Editor-In-Chief of Rising Phoenix Review and the Managing Editor and Poetry Editor for L’Éphémère Review. He is currently studying Philosophy at West Chester University. His poetry is influenced by life in the Pennsylvania Rustbelt near his hometown of Coatesville. His work has appeared in Words Dance, Voicemail Poems, Lehigh Valley Vanguard, Ghost City Review, Sea Foam Mag, Thirteen Myna Birds, Yellow Chair Review and others. He was a Resident Poet for Lehigh Valley Vanguard during the summer of 2015. His first chapbook, Keystones, was released by Rising Phoenix Press in December 2014.

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