The black walnut is a silent void,
an altar bloodied
and pulled into the spirit that chopped gaps,
long wrinkled hardened bark,
yanking you in by the fingers into the nutcracker designed for divine fruit.
Alone on a rural Maryland hill where people
once prayed to immortals
like the black walnut
and died under the shredding of their chestnuts
who rotted from their uncaring vows
the black walnut too fickle to die, and echoing into you.
They told you it was bitter, strong,
epochs twisted into a dendro,
a nut, a God you sensed the moment you laid eyes on it
like a child rubs her hands in old dust and senses the ground you felt your size.
Fruit advances and some say
it never ages long enough to enjoy
who could not face the blackness of an empty life,
who faded into flickering ghosts,
as they gazed upon the black walnut
in the silent glory of drifting grass.