“Wisdom isn’t cheap, and we pay for it with pain.”

The tree knows it has grown

from a seedling to a green-crowned giant, the queen

of the forest because its

view is higher, its

roots dig deeper

bark a little thicker with every passing year

.

Well I’ve finished my last growth spurt

years ago

stuck at five four till aging bones

can’t resist the embrace of gravity anymore, shrink

Every time I’ve found what becomes home, seems like

I have to uproot again

start over in new soil–even the water tastes different here, the air

.

Except for the birthday cards I gather

keep safe like last year’s tax returns, and except

for the calendars I acquire

nothing records my change, no bark

no rings growing wider each year

no rings showing how many years of marriage

I’m not quite my mother’s daughter, or so she fears

.

Growth doesn’t show its pencilled marks

creeping up the side of the doorway anymore, doesn’t mean

buying a bigger size of shoes with extra

toe room; it might mean a scar

still healing from that night, means remembering

to call Nana on her birthday

to buy eggs at the store on the way

home from work, means waiting

for the bus and accepting the mundane

teeth clenched at night and in the morning, headache

change doesn’t come without stretching

there’s always some growing pain

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