The Dream of the Wood

the night of the windstorm

the city swayed


steel branches wrapped in old concrete


the leaves fall in strict equations:

material tolerance plus environmental

pressure plus the work of builders’ hands.


in the morning, we count cracks:

birch lines in the drywall laid bare

for the deer. the corner panhandler lost

his hat in the night. spare change, a nickel

a quarter a dollar? I put palms to the sidewalk

and feel for roots, crouched, bent small,

parting rush-hour rivers of feet.


in the valley, the river wound round the birch, half in,

half out of water. the squirrels crept back to their nests

lean and loud, whistling as they gathered new twigs.

the muskrats drained burrows below, mirroring:

one crown wide, and one buried.


there are cracks in the city. we all feel it:

the thin drafts blowing through. in the wind,

I spread hands rootlike through the soil

and dream of changing: from our rusted degradation

point to tough green wood, flexed, bowed, unbreaking.


I can feel it coming, love, like the first

of spring: smoother, softer, here I go,

stretching hands-first into something

that bends, and then stands.


Author: Leah Bobet

Leah Bobet’s most recent novel, An Inheritance of Ashes, won the Sunburst, Copper Cylinder, and Prix Aurora Awards. Her short fiction has appeared in multiple Year’s Best anthologies, and her poetry in Uncanny Magazine, Goblin Fruit, and Strange Horizons. She lives and works in Toronto, where she contributes to food security and civic engagement projects and makes heroic amounts of jam. Visit her at

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