Three Trees

What makes this full grown tree resemble a bonsai?
Bonsai is a centuries old art form, the slow shaping
of trees, restricting roots and cutting back foliage
so that they remain tiny but resemble their full-size brethren
in their shape and scale.

Perhaps through centuries and increasing world wide
cultural awareness, bonsai has shaped us too.

Here is a tree in a park, perhaps a little more twisted
of branch than most, its leaves perhaps a little smaller
than expected, their tufts spaced apart almost artfully.

Did anyone shape the beauty of this tree?
I doubt it. It is itself, unpruned except for reasons of safety.

Cold and grey. The cherry trees have dropped
nearly all their blossoms. Across the way is a stand of apples
I think apples
let us say apples
still covered in white and pale pink blooming.

They seem out of place in April’s
characteristic cruelty

but further up the walk there are a few
leaner somethings whose deep pink-red
buds did not pale but burst into deep pink-red
flowers that stand up to the cold

bright and tough.

Every year I wait months for the tall trees to leaf out.
It starts on the first soft day of March and only intensifies
through snowdrops, past daffodils and into tulip weeks.

The green starts lower down, bushes and hedges and then
cherries and apples, the little trees that seem so child-sized
I always forget they must be twice as tall as me.

They stand like sculptures, covered in flowers, magnificent
but I am waiting for the canopy.

When we go to this park on the weekend
we pick one of two benches across from three
tall trees, which are lindens. I learned their name and
seed pods and leaf shapes after many hours
in their company.

They are the only big trees in this small park that I am sure of,
and they are the only ones still holding on
to dark furled buds.

I want to thank the other trees around the lawn
for their early efforts, the change they are making to the light
and the shade

but they are not lindens, or oaks or maples
or sycamores
and I do not know how.


apparently there has been an uptick
in UFO sightings in the past two years

and this is an area in which the Pentagon
is striving to create transparency

likely this means that they are hoping
to show that there is nothing up their sleeves

no dissected green men under their white morgue sheets
or shape-changing visitors behind their pips and bars

or possibly they mean it literally
you can’t see these UFOs at all

they are transparent
nothing to see here


In solitude and the company of one
patterns form and fall away again

a few cling tenaciously to the days
these become rituals

weekends we drink coffee in the park
winter and summer but not
rain or shine

today it rained
and we took our coffee to the stoop
and looked out together

at the stones and roots and trees


certain schools of thought
encourage the simultaneous consideration
of seemingly opposing truths

like so: no one can ever truly
understand your specific experience

and still a person can report
the exact pain you are experiencing

they feel it too
for the same reason

some good sounds:
very light rain on the hood of my jacket
notes from a cornet being practiced
by an unknown neighbor
the tiny crackles of bread crust
a few moments – but not immediately –
after it has been set out to cool


when the construction finally
packed up its orange fencing and moved away
last Fall
it revealed smooth hexagonal sidewalk pavers

which now shine under the streetlight
like tessellated moons
in the rainy night

they bless my first walk outside
since the day before yesterday

the pavers and the quiet
and the train sound
and the scent of white flowers

that have burst from deep pink buds
to cover a tree
I wish I could identify by name


small annoyances
interspersed with rainclouds
sunlight when they pass


I know that there are
just three left of my favorite
candies; still I crunch


I grew up listening to my mother reading to me.
We started with Mrs. Pigglewiggle and moved on
through Little Women and on to the great prize
The Lord of the Rings,

the whole trilogy. She did the voices, and I hated Boromir and idolized Strider and Aeowyn, just like you’d hope.

I learned how to care for jade plants from my dad.
Let them dry out, soak them through, let them dry out again.

Inside everything you learn is a fractal.

Though I pored over a book called the Illustrated
Tolkien Encyclopedia, but I never tried to learn Quenya.
And it was decades before I realized that there is more
To jades than dryness, water, and hope.

There is luck, and pinching leaves, and the feeling of seeing new
fingery shoots sprouting from end of their fallen
shriveled forbear.

Looking up the cultivar I realize it is not Golem Jade,
named after the great clay man created by a Rabbi
to protect the Jews of of Prague (or do their chores)
as I had assumed

I misread the little label when I brought it home, I guess.

The thing is a Gollum Jade, an off shoot
of an earlier cultivar; the Hobbit Jade.

Someone named the jades in the so-called “Tolkien group” –
who was it? Why did they get the honor? And what
made them do it?

Did they get further than me, learn Quenya,
know each age of the world? Or just see something in the
reaching fingers that reminded them of a story they
read once?


two feet; now four feet
two sets of teeth
two hearts

one surprise chromosome
mine and his, his and mine

a woman once pointed out
that if she were to break her wrist
it might never fully heal
never turn without clicking
lift without weakening

but she could grow a whole new wrist
TWO whole new wrists
inside of her for someone else to use

we are miracles

and the miracle is:
become a vessel

take your supplements
not because the baby needs calcium
but because your body will leach what it needs
right out of your bones to grow his bones
inside of you

the supplements are for me
my body needs constant care and support
my left wrist gives me trouble
I can’t fix it
my priorities are predetermined

he will be just fine


I think I will miss the sun today.
The pang of regret as light breaks from the clouds
for the first time since the gray morning
is familiar, but
realizing I won’t get out before it goes again
has new dimension in the current days.

We are thinking of shortages and need.
Scarcity looms large this year. We learn new acronyms
and everyone becomes a statistician.
Last year this time the curves
on my mind were those of thickening buds and the swell
of grass over the earth.

I think of them now too, but

this year, of course.

Regrets stand out, and fears:
Did we do right with those last few unworried days?
Who could I have hugged when I travelled instead?
I still don’t understand the logarithmic graphs.
I could probably help more; worry less.


And the deaths, obviously. And the suffering.

Famously, April has a shortage of sun.

Still frustrating, of course, but comforting now, too.
This has not changed; always more rain than I’d like,
but at least it’s easier to stay indoors when outside spits
and squalls at you.