Poem | Ghost Trees

Image: The Library of Congress

 

And now a certain kind of scientist says
the weather in various parts of the world
is growing exhausted and just wants to lie down
for a nap, or maybe for a longer dose
of oblivion, so its dreams can be
re-spawned, its creatures large and small
replenished to wildness, the air re-folded
into its invisible origami, even
human language shot-through again
with sap: In the clear-cut woods—
raw ground and stumps—invisible trees
are learning to move from one place to another,
blurring paths and meadows—the people
who live there call them fathers who turned
away without waving goodbye and learned
to dance slowly
; they contrast them with the boulders
and rocks, who really know how to dance
in slow time, even as the humans and the creatures
in fur and the creatures in feathers leave
their bodies and all the bodies they passed through
to arrive at now through eternities, but still
we pretend they cast shadows across the ground
and still we pretend they bear fruit.

Published in the May 18, 2018 issue: 
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Michael Hettich’s most recent book of poems, The Frozen Harbor (Red Dragonfly Press, 2017), won the David Martinson/Meadowhawk Prize. He lives with his family in Miami and teaches at Miami Dade College.

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