Bark

My voice wrecked by morning crackles you awake.
“Oh, I guess we overslept.”
It’s almost a buzz of sleep-taken breath.
I tell you
I had this dream:
you were running
and you stopped to climb an oak tree. You
had placed your palm on the trunk’s bark,
laid your fingers with it like laying your
palm on a closed fist. And when you started
to climb, I noticed I was the old oak tree.
You stepped on my branches and shook out
my leaves, but I carried you. I held you
up to see.
To then wake up to your climbing feet tucked away
in low thread count sheets and your roughened hands
laid under your own sleep-heavy head,
my own leaves and branches curled back into my weak hands,
my roots clearly never were roots,
and your morning bittered breath became sugar sweet
and I am still holding in my exhale.

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