Saturday, June 1, 2013

Four Midwestern views

I. Every so often, an ivyless tree:
they might seem barest for wanting that scaling,
enameling green,

but the birch is fairest to me: its skin,
like yours, my dearest, a papery white
and black pepper into cream.

Or so I believe, for nights like whispering
ivy, nights like obligatory fig leaves,
kept true colors unseen.

II. A tree, trunk split
like a rod for finding water had been planted in the earth
in the shadow of a crystalline cellular tower --
a rigid and uncompromising metal structure --

its branches like languid rivers bridged
in diamonds of darkened ebony and alabaster:
a tree like the evening before, but already

there comes, obscuring
the sun, the morning after.

III. A cloud foregrounded in passing: a dragon,

its massive jaws open, its right nostril smoking

in anticipation of air turned to flame,

back arching and bearing its squamous way down

on a knight -- like a lightning

strike to a tree --

who is found all shaking, his mail gone to flickering 

scales, in the salivary

rain, of leafy


IV. "What you don't see is her riding the dragon."

(Found and finished 1 June 2013, in pieces on a drive from Rochester, NY, to Chicago, across Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. The day had a high albedo -- it was bright but clouded -- and so seemed conducive to reflection. The quotation constituting the fourth 'view' is due, with gratitude, to an astute reader of poetry, with a specialty in such metamorphoses as might take place in [stories about] the heavens and the trees.)

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