Fall 2016 (Volume 20, Issue II): 20th Anniversary Issue




It was as if the earth had opened
its lungs on the ground before us:
a rainforest, with its dimmed
and radiant air, broken branches
like wrecked cities, entire worlds
of leaves still green and glossy,
new acorns snug as young
on an animal’s back.
The blued air filled
with breathing. The people were still
in their burrows of wood and plastic
and glass; lightning needled
the distance. And the leaves,
the leaves—each individual
set of crisp edges and generous
green. It was as when
a fish, landed in the boat,
all its tiny scales flashing
while it gasps,
is never more alive,
is never more beautiful
in its color and detail,
and the branches flashed white
in the darkness where they were torn,
and for days, after the traffic
had resumed, and the mourning
dove had again taken up its unhurried
notes, the leaves and branches
of the trees, trimmed and piled
chest-high along the curb for disposal,
kept living.

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