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
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.