SLAB-OF-REDWOOD TABLE
                     
takes my cup and saucer
as it took marsupials, insects,
birds, rodents, living things.

"Nice," I say, "very nice,"
hearing saws, the screeching,
and roar, the falling. Seeing

inch-thick bark, confining rings
the tight concentric circles set
on stubby legs and polished, clear
in polyurethane--suggesting

stumps I've seen larger than sedans,
moss-tinted roots webbed out beneath
air columns, shoots beginning, some
allowed to reach new harvest age.

A virgin stand, Sonoma, shaded me
into recovery, mountainside-tired,
chilled escaping sun, back to bark,
among roots, watching sun descend
toward sea, one remnant preserved
of pristine new world, the edge of
country and millenium. Could be near

this tree's age, a furnishing, apt
to fit a rustic decor, nothing
more. Deserving stumps, boulders, mounds
of hardened clay for backs and buttocks.
Furs or grass on floors, willow limbs
laced to hammocks, leaf-padded. Water
bubbling over pebbly floor, banks worn
bald by feet and knees. Fibers twisted,

cord refined in baskets. Ceiling
holes? bugs? smoke? ashes? dirt? No
way. Passť! Too primitive! I ask my
hostess, "Is there cream for the tea?"

Bill Vernon

If you've any comments on his poem, Bill Vernon would be pleased to hear from you.