Portrait of a Shade

© Matthew Word Bain

limbs not so long ago held aloft
and dancing on the horizontal
now jut out at sharp angles
from their once vertical trunk
as picturesque as poignant
but poignant all the same

what becomes of the shade of a hemlock
when the hemlock itself becomes a shade?
it cannot vanish into darkness – so it dissolves
into the light let in by a new hole in the canopy
beneath which the support that held up that shade
now slowly returns to the soil
having found its way
to the ground