Did you hear me call out—Molly—in the forest?
Did any of the trees fall, hear, or feel me?
I only called out what I read on the trunk,
someone having tried to fuse two lives, theirs,
and the blue oak’s, together by sharing a name
incised with a knife, the scar blurry with time.
Maybe the one true Molly only wanted
to be remembered among her brothers and sisters—
coyote—river otter—these elder oaks—as one
family. Naming is something people like to do
to trees but trees have no need for names.
When dogs or deer mark trees, their naming
is fleeting to the seasons, their alphabet scent
not twenty-six carveable letters. No matter
what we think, this isn’t—our—territory,
marked off in latitude, longitude. The day will come
when measurements succumb to an exploding sun.
Still, I suppose it’s convenient now to call
the tree—Molly—rather than describe intricacies,
leaf pattern, roughness of bark. I shout out—Molly—
like a pagan lover, vocal cords lichened and mossy.
If you assume Molly’s a girl you’ve made a common
mistake rooted in social constructs of naming.
Life in the contemporaneous forest might surprise you.
Oak trees have male flowers on one part
of their branches, female flowers on another.
So—Molly is both boy and girl—when the red penned
say use proper personal pronouns—just saying—