High up in the paper birch, I
perch in its branches’ glacial stretch
and let my searching fingers slowly
trace the etchings of long years
upon this open book of bark.
I’m at a loss to truly parse
each runnel and each quirk.
What mysteries are written here?
Which lines are really runes and
which are merely scars?
Where do I find the legendary librarian
from some antique scholarly retreat
who can read this cryptic sketch?
Who can verify his work?
And who, hers?
— Denis M. Garrison