One Life

Once more, the aftermath: last week a line

Of winds leveled our town, clear-cutting trees

As old as Vigo County’s oldest home;

Before, we’d lost a dying, bark-scarred oak.

Our other trees still stand. Amid the whirr and buzz

Of saws and chippers everywhere around

Us, Daphne and Apollo—purple ash and poplar—

Stir in the breeze, but stay unflappable.


Their branches arch above me like a nave

And now a silence spreads about: the wind

Animates the higher limbs, lifts them

Enough to let a slant of light slip through

Their folded hands and land on each green leaf

And me, the trees translucent as stained glass.


Published in the 2012-02-24 issue: 

Matthew Brennan is professor and director of graduate studies, Department of English, Indiana State University. His most recent book is The Poet’s Holy Craft (University of South Carolina Press).

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