Ellie Rose McKee
Her gnarled branches were a ribcage,
straining toward the moonlit sky.
Winter had been harsh upon the land,
stripping her flesh, but the Soultree
was a guardian, long established in her role.
Come cold, come wind, lightning, rain of ice,
her ribs tightened, closing ranks to shield their wards.
So good were the centuries at weaving to form a cage
that, come spring, the nest had survived:
four unbroken eggs.
So safe were the beasts within,
they never saw the light of day.