it's hard to make a tree laugh. they've
seen it all. 100-year storms. gaping maws.
cutting and cutting. nothing startles them.
not leaf drop. not bird flight. barely notice
animals fornicating on their limbs. when
new beetles arrive. tree sees in those faces.
older faces. generations of teeth. knotted
ommatidia. watching. saplings push-up.
swayed by populist cudgel-makers.
if someone tries to sell you a tree. ask
when it last laughed. it won't answer. but
its rings could. needle down. sing on a
phonograph. trees know. all about laying
down tracks. they've not lost their sense
of humour. it's out. search-partying surprise.
‘walks into a bar’ are the best jokes. to tell
a tree. ever curious. about what goes on
inside. if you do make a tree laugh. you may
not know. 'til 1 evening. mid-copse. 'twixt
barking dog and larksome moon. you catch.
a splinter-voice echo of the punchline.
Ren Pike grew up in Newfoundland. Through sheer luck, she was born into a family who understood the exceptional value of a library card. Her work has appeared in Abridged, Riddle Fence, and Cutbow Quarterly. When she is not writing, she wrangles data in Calgary, Canada. https://pike.headstaller.com