the unexpected

How to Read a Tree

Aditya Shankar

Birds are golfers of heaven. They swing their 

club-like wings and score their birdie and par 

in treetop nests. A tree is a vertical golf course,

says the snake that gobbles up the egg. And a 

grassland of highest branches— the Giraffe. 

Watch closely. You can spot the Garibaldi beard 

of their stooping caddies— the Bees. A human 

sighting of trees is the wrong side of an arena, 

the gloomy lower of a green turf. Their poets 

stare at the underside and pine about seasons,

foliage, solitude, and thorns. But a tree is the 

hardened cable of an elevator. In a netherworld 

of downswing, they maintain heavens of glee. 

Beneath ecstasies and pleasures, we operate 

among seasoned roots and neurons of pain. 

Aditya Shankar is a Best of the Net and Pushcart prize nominated Indian poet, flash fiction author and translator. Hailing from Bangalore, you can follow him on Twitter @suncave.

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