Like the Trees in the Sequoia National Forest

by Michael Mark Issue: Fall 2015
When the kids start fighting, I stand. As sides are
taken at the office, I slide away from the burled
table, button my jacket and rise in the fluorescents’ buzz.  

The moment the evening news shows footage of
combat I’m off the couch. And, in Temple, when
the Rabbi reads, "An eye for an eye,” though my
wife tugs my sleeve, I take my stance, head bowed.

Year after year we mark the calendar and drive
out to the forests. Before we’re even home, the lesson,
and more than that, the peace is mostly gone. This time
I am holding fast.

The Buddhists sit. The Muslims and the Christians
kneel. Hare Krishnas dance for universal compassion. 
I am standing with the trees.

Michael Mark is a hospice volunteer and long distance walker. He is the author of two books of stories, Toba and At the Hands of a Thief (Atheneum). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Gargoyle Magazine, Paterson Literary Review, Rattle, Spillway, The Sow’s Ear, Tar River Poetry, Sugar House Review, and other nice places. His poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the 2015 Best of the Net. Visit his website at