Three Ash Trees behind the Cathedral
The way the wind curves
around one ash—full yellow—
and the next one explodes.
Fall of light: same light
that trailed the plummet to hell: Love turned
inside out. A rusted iron spike
driven into the middle ring of a stump. Black winged,
chthonic silhouette across still-green grass.
And the ants, the ants, how they
rebuild the world each night.
A man with a black cowboy hat
picks an abandoned white ribbon off an empty bench,
Bells toll the quarter hour.
Showing my mother photos on my laptop the day after Christmas
Every time I show them to her
I notice the same thing: so few faces.
Trees, snails in walls, shells, patterns of lichen
on rock, rock
and moss, a snowman
with seaweed hair, Swansea Bay. She lights up
when she sees a face. “Who is that?”
She has seen these photos before, so many times,
has forgotten. This forgetting
is her shelter,
cradles her in the dark.
What was it she wanted when she started out?
Bare trees follow me home.
Crossing the Delaware into New Jersey, up 287
to the New York state line. All the way,
the tantalizing pattern of bare branches.
I have spent my life
desperately trying to read them, knowing
there is no answer, acting
as if the answer is still there, just out of reach.
Christien Gholson is the author of the novel, A Fish Trapped Inside the Wind (Parthian 2011), and On the Side of the Crow (Hanging Loose Press 2006).