The Religion Tree: A Poem



The leaf doesn’t fall far from the tree,

and we are all leaves on the same tree,

and will take our leave from here.


The yellow leaf signals fall, the

green leaf, pride before the fall.

The bud is born to fall.

Death unites us all.


Better be the tree. Call your tree

self the true self. Don’t be

the transient leaf self.

That’s no way to be.

You’ve always been the tree.


You started as a bud.

Your green is turning yellow.

Now face this wall,

says Bodhidharma.

Detach before the fall.


Buzz before you come.

The flower speaks now. 

Toss off your labels

of leaf or tree. Le

mot juste is bee.


Can leaves resist the wind?

And what about sin?

The apple speaks now.

Cursed be he that hangs upon this tree.


And yet I hung for you.

Drank, drooped, descended.

And now have left a seed.


So I branch now and give this to you.

Are you the True Leaf

written of in sacred leaves?

If not, perhaps I should go, and I am.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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