(CNS photo/Roman Petushkov, Reuters)

I don’t believe in poetry
the poet said to the plant
trying to be a tree
in the rubble of the city.

I believe in your assembly
the poet said to the sticks of wood
holding up the fragile seedling
like an art piece.

Your form is the future
the poet offered the construction
unaware what that was
saying about it all.

Then the testing of the midnight breeze
and the leaves passed
all that they could
to the poet.

Leaning is a kind of stand
the plant revealed
over and over to the poet
buried in the sidewalk exchange.

A fire hydrant is a kind of fire hydrant
the plant broke down to the poet
trying to be a poem
in the rubble of the city.

Published in the September 2023 issue: View Contents

Howard Altmann’s most recent book, Forgive Time, is an original collection of fifty poems translated into Hebrew by award-winning poet/translator Tal Nitzán (Keshev Press, 2021).

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