Looking for Methusaleh
Mad about conifers in the rain shadow
of the Great Basin Range, we search for
the oldest living thing, born before Noah’s Flood
It has stood as part of its durable tribe,
feet in the lee side dolomite of the White Mountains.
It is there, but it is not there.
No one will tell us; no JPEGs on the web.
This is done for its protection, our hands
unable to damage the heartwood that’s exposed.
Muir mused that trees are imperfect men,
but what then of imperfect men? Do they wear
their fire scars from lightning strikes?
Does their polished deadwood gleam?
We are not far from the garden of elders,
but the threat of our hands is less than
our minds that think about living large
while the thin ribbon of Methusaleh’s bark,
still alive, is pinched off by its dead flesh.
We are looking for a ghost, the oldest one
to haunt our heads in the clouds.
The search goes on at ten thousand feet;
the old gnarled bastard is not bound to
its yelled name. It does not rot.
Methusaleh! Can you hear me
or are you beginning to show your age?