Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Rapture: Lucus

Posters for the missing kapok tree appear on streetlights
offering a reward for its safe return. I hate to spoil it,

but the end of every biography is death. The end of a city
in the rainforest is a legend and a lost expedition. The end

of mythology is forgetfulness, placing gifts in the hole
where the worshipped tree should be. But my memory

lengthens with each ending. I know where to find the lost
mines of Muribeca and how to cross the Pacific on a raft

made of balsa. I know the tree wasn’t stolen. She woke from
her stillness some equatorial summer evening by a dream

of being chased by an amorous faun, which was a memory,
which reminded her that in another form she had legs

and didn’t need the anxious worship of people who thought
her body was a message. She is happier than the poem tattooed

on her back says she is, but sadder than the finches nesting
in her hair believe her to be. I am more or less content to be

near her in October storms, though I can’t stop thinking that
with the right love or humility or present of silk barrettes

and licorice she might become a myth again in my arms, ardent
wordless, needing someone to bear her away from the flood.
 

Credit


Copyright © 2014 by Traci Brimhall. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on August 14, 2014. 

About this Poem


“This poem is part of a series I’m working on that mythologizes the town in Brazil where my mother was born and raised. Mysterious and possibly miraculous things begin to occur there, and every resident has a different explanation. The speaker believes the reason for the miracles is a hamadryad nymph with a poem tattooed on her back who ran away rather than be worshipped.” 

—Traci Brimhall

Author


Traci Brimhall

Traci Brimhall is the author of Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod (Copper Canyon Press, 2020). She lives in Manhattan, Kansas.

Date Published: 2014-08-14

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/rapture-lucus