POETRY

MARCH 2017

Zhou Maoshu Appreciating Lotuses | Kanō Masanobu

Zhou Maoshu Appreciating Lotuses | Kanō Masanobu

As If It Were a Child

by KATHLEEN HELLEN

Fragile, quiet—
sipping wine in a cameo of shadows,
she wears the thinness of the aged tree,
the plans that have miscarried.

She’d lost eight last season. The seeds
stored cryogenically. The few trees left
cantilevered,
injected with prophylactic.
Thinned canopy.
Ailing branches lingering with sprouts, the ruddy
bark erupting measled. The crack
in the whisper of leaves.

Listening, she stares into the growing
dark, the larvae boring through
the tree that doesn’t show a thing
until it snaps,

falls.

Dirge of the woodpeckers.