New Old Dog (I’m still struggling)

For one, you were a sleight-of-hand magician,
and I still haven’t figured out all of the tricks you
pulled, a tribute to the level of your artistry – you may
have seen me as your assistant, we two tending the garden
where only vines twist now about the trunks, philodendron,
sick loving vine of trees makes it so they struggle
constricted in their growth and barely bending with the wind.

Number two, then, that gardener planting our grove,
the place we’ve stuck together, a group of stunted trees
sheltering each other in that stand, grown up as best can be.
Those rings of ours, you know, those counting up each year,
so our rounded time flies, a record of all the weather
we endured, each ring a year we acquired dearly.

There’s the old saw, even at half you were a mighty oak.
It’s hard to picture you as an acorn, before your cloak and wand.
Remember that night, how we kept passing the Daks Motel?
We were searching for the Oaks Motel, but their sign
was carved out trickily – and then voila, out of nowhere
you saw in the dark we’d read it wrong, as I now read you,
so difficult to figure out all that made your magic for me.

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