Cop-R-toxed or creosote pine,
lopped forty feet tall, slightly tapered,
branches shorn from the functional bole,
crossbeams notched and bolted, spikes
for the climb eighteen inches on center.
Die before you die, the mystics say.
Any moment I imagine throwing my life away
on such a rumored glory, there's always something
to it of worth, an essential holiness
over which I dare not presume authority,
keeping my gloved hands,
thick boots glued to the spikes -
more than a fear of death
or an instinct for survival -
that keeps me clinging unquestioningly
to this separate, individual awareness.
O child of God, surrender is not a life tossed away
but returned to its original owner.