trunk no thicker than my wrist, bark smooth as an unshaven youth, slim, spindly— you were planted the summer my son was born. I birthed him— my womb the soil he seeded in, my ligaments turning him out into the July sun, his slight limbs unfolding like leaves, his small mouth blossoming— but to your planting I was passive. Your roots were placed in the soil without my help. I was observer, left no instruction. The child I fed, I fed for a thousand days. Tucked in beside me, he grew: round cheeks and belly, skin sweet as butter, limbs lengthening each year. You, in your silence I neglected. Now you are small for your age, patchy, branches curving upwards to the sun, still hesitant. I want to say I tended you too. I want to say I was a gardener, loving the trees like my own child. But I was undone by love and labor, and you survived despite me. Now I sit and watch you creep towards the sun, measure each twig's slight growth, each leaf's small opening.