A LYNCHING NEAR THE COLLEGE
The ghost tree reflected in the window
white as blood-free linen
moves not to the beat of wind,
forms no shadow,
makes no nest for a family of squirrels—
no flurry of leaves, no glitter of sunlight..
We look to the street to find its nature,
yellowing blossoms on young trees
a startling of green,
the dead bark of elm disease,
the ghost tree nowhere in sight.
This is how it is when it is nothing at all.
Later we hear a scraping of feet,
a breathing of air when the wind stops,
the sudden fist of a limb cracking.
Somewhere violence happens: a branch, a fist.
Whatever it was that touched us did not touch us
no longer bound to the frailties of witch hazel and struggle,
but the moon did dissolve into smoke over the rooftop,
soft light did not harden into ice,
the chambermaid’s smile turned to a frown
dimpled with crustaceans and snake skin,
and professors ripped hypotheses into scrap
metals drawing mountains over everything.
Only sometimes does homework enter the heart of the matter,
pen to paper, keyboard to screen,
a lack of ribbon for the brand new antique electric typewriter.
When the boat people want to leave the river for the lake,
they need to notify the people of the bridge to prepare for their passing.
This knack of living on tongue depressors and condoms,
reddish clouds and red lit leaves, a waning sun:
smoke and dust.
In the house of thieves, hide your silver.
do not let Waterford crystal slip from the table.
What is it
–a week ago–
sleeping in the dragonfield mines?
:the breath of passion flower overhead
the jaws of the dandelion
the strength of blood tulips craning their stems through shadow growth
how many times
–the first week in May–
slipping through the fired lisps of dragon teeth?
:a wealth in persimmon juice
a poverty of lilies of the mountain west of Maine
the drawback of the morning glory
This is what crushed the water
and this is how the tree died
and do you see it in the distance?–
this is how the mud grew
this is how limestone forms
a spine of brick, cask of clouds
fat with noise, fat with jazz
fat with underwear eaters.