Nothing But a Few Bare Trees

They were nothing but a few bare trees
warped in the north shore’s gauzy light,
nothing but a few stripped hickories

or oaks thinned out by blight, their low
limbs crusted in snow, yet something
in the way they stood apart and out

from others in that wood across acres
of ice, something about their fixture there,
under a hard white sky, caught and held

the eye. One of the elders mentioned
crosses on a holy hill, and someone quick
to counter spoke of totems carved in