Bone-spur, stirrup of veins—white colt a tree, sapling bone again, worn to a splinter, a steeple, the birch aground in its ravine of leaves. Abide with me, arrive at its skinned branches, its arms pulled from the sapling, your wrist taut, each ganglion a gash in the tree's rent trunk, a child's hackwork, love plus love, my palms in your fist, that trio a trident splitting the birch, its bark papyrus, its scars calligraphy, a ghost story written on winding sheets, the trunk bowing, dead is my father, the birch reading the news of the day aloud as if we hadn't heard it, the root moss lit gas, like the veins on your ink-stained hand— the birch all elbows, taking us in.
Copyright © 2011 by Cynthia Zarin. Reprinted from The Ada Poems with the permission of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Cynthia Zarin is the author of Orbit (Knopf, 2017) and The Ada Poems (Knopf, 2010). She teaches at Yale University and lives in New York City.
Date Published: 2011-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/birch