The Weep Line

for David

on his 18th birthday

Under the trees we paced
and drove Jobe’s spikes
along the weep line.
Working clear of roots,
I held the spikes
while you hammered.
I kept looking up at
the trees because,
until rain falls
heavy and steady,
we must imagine it.
Later, when it appears,
an imperfect circle
under the pin oak,
I think of you, still
a child among grade-school
children holding hands,
forming a circle.  Caught


outdoors in a downpour
you step inside the weep line.
Leaves on the tree’s upper
branches sluice rain down.
Under the tree you can hear
rain drop, leaf by leaf, down to
the weep line.  Beyond it
everything’s hazy. I know
you think life’s like that.
There, under the tallest tree,
here, where often lightning
strikes close by, you know
by now life’s currency, and—
if you’re the man
I think you are—
you’ll also imagine
the spikes, now unseen,
feeding the tree.


Copyright © by Debra Kang Dean