Still Life with Invisible Canoe

Levinas asked if we have the right
To be        the way I ask my sons
If they’d like to be trees       

The way the word tree
Makes them a little animal
Dancing up and down
Like bears in movies
Bears I have to say
Pretend we are children     

At a river one of them says
So we sip it    pivot in the hallway   
Call it a canoe

It is noon in the living room
We are rowing through a blue
That is a feeling mostly 

The way drifting greenly
Under real trees 
Is a feeling near holy


Copyright © 2015 by Idra Novey. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 26, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“As a child, I played in the woods and pretended they were a city. Now, I sit in my hot apartment with my children and pretend we are in the woods. Meanwhile, the birch and maple trees I once played beneath are disappearing as the planet gets warmer. The more I thought about those vanishing trees the shorter this poem became.”
Idra Novey