Ten planes exhaled contrails, painting someone’s property lines across a sky we thought was ours. The sun surfaced, and a checkerboard shadow carved the city into hundredths before the lattice loosened and masked itself as clouds. Now we walk divided, with memory imposed upon the moment, rays wandering a graph of absent shadow, hoping to sidestep felony as we move through these unknowable territories.
In a field near the lake
stands the ghost of a dead oak.
The ghost is black and very tall.
It never speaks or moves.
The sky wants to take it.
The earth wants to eat it.
But the ghost is strong, it does not want to move.
So it argues half its tongues into the dirt,
and grips hard against the sky’s glutton lung.
It whispers the other half into air,
and weathers the white earth’s thirst.
Like a frayed black suture it binds earth and sky together.
In this way the ghost stills its universe:
the sky can never rise nor the earth fall
out of their coupling’s grave jurisdiction.
The lake will breathe its atoms to the clouds.
The constellations will pageant
the lucky patterns of their composition
until they break and fade.
But the ghost will stand
contented with the silence.
With the snowfall.
With the stalemate of its own device.