I am a northern pin oak tree with a cleaved out center,
my branches twist; I empty into the hollowed center.
You are sugar maple glowing amber and crimson,
no bristled blunt limbs—your leaves radiate from the center.
Once I was a small girl alone in a bronze field walking,
no tree near me when I began to discard my center.
For a microsecond I held a hummingbird window-pane stunned,
his red iridescence startled in my hand’s cupped center.
If the hummingbird did not escape in a quark’s moment,
love too large to fit in a hand would bleed out his center.
How can I unwind the concentric rings that guard your heart?
Is soul synonymous for the core of the heart’s center?
If my arms circle your body until soft bruises bloom,
will some of your heart stray in my scooped-out center?
Over the years of exhibiting her work, a combination of her poetry in calligraphic form and collages of paste paper, PATTIE PALMER-BAKER discovered (to her delight and surprise!) that most people, despite what they may believe, do like poetry, and in fact many liked her poetry better than the visual art. She now concentrates on poetry. She finds the ghazal both challenging and rewarding. She believes the rigidity of the rules force her into depths not experienced when writing free verse.