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Making like a tree - Helen Wing

I didn’t know she curled up

in the dog basket

under the table,

a spaniel croissant,

smelling of faster heartbeats

and dough, waiting,

pressing fingers into the tufts

between leathery-paw outcrops,

buttered ears and whisperings,

when he came


She didn’t know I stood

in the yard making like a tree

tied to the clatter, bump, slam

dropping like raindrops drop

onto my outstretched hands,

house-held, resenting

the latch-click thunder split,

after the slick light porch torching,

‘Come in now!’

Now we are still for all

the wrong reasons:

I creak when I grow,

this tree a river,

the sky an ocean I hurtle into

my xylem waters breaking over

unseen, unspoken, vascular


She bakes to perfection

a sugary, smile-bedecked doll,

yoga stretching, muscled

for the practiced coil


If we speak at all of Syria

we ventriloquize surprise

at children shaping bodies

to the logic of fear,

along the ridges proffered

by the last elementary,

a stroking of dog’s ears

and making like trees

in the rain,

the vestigial wild, a nestling,

protect against commune.

We know it is necessary

to make a tramp

of the heart.

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