A JOURNAL OF TREES
I have saved one heart shaped leaf,
a dry book mark in the diary
of my year with him,
when we propped against the yellow shade
of a linden tree talking,
trying to touch each other
with words, kiss,
and not leave a mark.
I tell myself this story
every year about this time.
I feel no obligation to fact:
Sometimes the tree is hawthorn, pink-lipped
with flowers and we are finches
trembling from thorn to thorn. Or,
we rest against a mountain ash, tired,
hair tangled with winged seeds, not
speaking at all. Once I heard aspen,
their ghost song sighing around our shoulders.
Sweet gum may prickle our bare feet
or we carry tamarind back to make tea, but
the end never varies:
There are tight flowers
on the branches and bees loll
in their red throats,
then struggle to find their way
home, to the place
where these stories began.
LOUISE BOGAN IS ROBBED
Thieves bless what they take,
they make shrines to absence,
to the odd shape clear of dust,
to what we never knew we loved
so much: they leave the whole
less, the arrangement asymmetrical
for years, while we paint the object's portrait
over and over in our minds, draw lines
precisely over lines until, in spite of ourselves,
it blurs -- into what it never was
and demonstrates how hard it is
to love a stranger.