Past and Future Tense

Under my hand the lichen
gray and sage
abrades like sandpaper.
but I hold the tree trunk
close, the way I hold
my grandchildren
and pray for their safety.

I know the humble spores
have survived ice and fire,
will outlive the saw
bitter rain and the bomb
and when all my children’s children
have long disappeared
the decent lichen
will spread itself
to cover the nakedness of stone.