Betula Orationis

There are many ways I will never know this world.
Beyond the edge of the lawn, the birches’ roots labyrinth
the sub-terrain. Even old stumps send sustenance to new

growth, the clique of trees crowding out other varieties.
As a child, I stripped off bracelets of bark and traced
my fingers over the lambskin-soft inner stretch

before reaching the papery curls, never worrying
about the pain I may have caused. There are many trees,
and there are many animals, but we recognize

ourselves mostly in fur, not fern. The happy lap of a dog’s
tongue searching for purchase on our faces. A cat’s calculated
rejection that makes us crave its warmth. Even the cow,

the rabbit, the pig. Even the parakeet. If language is the barrier—
an audible bark or bleat more coherent than the cry
of sap escaping torn skin—let me learn to interpret

the silent syllables. Let me understand
the life that does not directly reflect my own. Let me
see the seeds as they catch the wind, offspring
departing, watched by their wordless parents.



Kate Bucca holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BFA from Goddard College. She is a PhD student in Educational Studies, with a focus on inclusive education, at University of Prince Edward Island. Her work has appeared in The Masters Review Anthology VIII, Welter, Limestone, The Nervous Breakdown, DigBoston, and elsewhere. She lives in Vermont and Prince Edward Island with the writer Dominic Bucca and two cats, Snack and Barney. Find more of her work at katebucca.com.