On top of the evening’s snow,

a pine cone, flared open,

gift of the tree and the wind,

or the red squirrel that lives

in the neighborhood, though

the tracks—if they’re tracks—

are too filled-in to tell.


I’d like to offer something

of my own in return—a song

or word of thanks that lives

on the wind and whispers

of these beautiful cones,

female, whose seed scales,

imbricate, overlap, arrange


themselves in Fibonacci spirals,

open to allow pollen, close

to ripen seed, open again

when the time is dry

to seed new trees, feed

new squirrels, spiraling life

through this mountain-side.


Robin Chapman’s ninth book, Six True Things (Tebot Bach, 2016), received an Outstanding Achievement in Poetry award from the Wisconsin Library Association.

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