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ruined in the bud



the ashy willow sleeping in the corridor

between the green-tongued brambles of the yard

has stumbled into slumbered pitfalls



                                     or something like them,

                                              little shadows of a bud all

droll and dark and damp

                                                      and free beneath the tree,

                                             buried ‘neath the tree’s parsimony.


                  i throw a nut and

                  crack the copal vine;

                  the tree recoils.


the stuttered stores of apples

upturned in the sandy soil of the

drive accuse the driver of infractions ‘neath

         the corrugated tower. they suppurate and glower

from the dust. you count the hours with

         a sundial.


         and your tires crack the ground –

                  O! to have found the blossomed bedside

                  in the womby purple chamber!

                  the wheels churn in iron sockets;

                  the sun glows amber.

         and you crumble over shells,

         and the ashy willow stirs from slumber,

         shakes the sleep from its knobby eyes,

         waxes nitric in the lightning wind

         and sees you on the hessian land –

                           your hessian feet now serve some other master

                           than the weeping fronds,

                           the cranberry husks now bubble in the

                           drying bog

                                    and burst!


         the fabric flutters and before your eyes

                  the willow’s felled.


so like the branches draped with hessian hair,

you droop and wilt and falter. the tree

does not collapse, but disappears. the threads

retied by roots you thought too deep to be

upended are unlaced. they dangle there

         and twilit shadows whisper

                  through the brambles and the bugs

                           and the faintest whiff of resin:

                                    there was no ashy willow here.

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