LEAF EULOGY

There is no shame in undressing

But I can’t help feeling

If the trees had teeth they’d be gritted

Down to the gums

As the cold licks them clean.

I’ve been thinking a lot about hurricanes

People and possessions and cars

Torn away on unknown currents

Houses buckling and spilling their contents. Exorcisms

Everything gone with one sweep of tide

pollution spat into a swirl of Godawful senselessness.

How our losses end up in landfills or tangles of wheezing gulls and turtles.

Our impermanence fossilised in plastic

Junk that we’ve buried in the frenzy of squirrels

Knowing the winter will starve us

Knowing as we wait on the roofs of our lot,

No one has sent the boats or helicopters for us.

And wood, wood knows how to rot,

Even rock doesn’t know how to let the tide

Scape it so smooth.

If we could lose our bones like beachwood

If we could slip out of our hair and teeth

And ability and family and homes

The way trees release their leaves

Rot that smells so sweet

Ripe with pips and seed

The concrete filling live

With curled spirits

of bugs and frogs and mushrooms and mice and

I never learned how to conker

All these tiny losses

Mouse curved and twitching all over with whiskers,

Skin dried to bird’s-chest fineness,

Tail loose with sleep,

Frost at its nose,

So brittle you can see skeleton

Too fine to be bone

What will be left of you?

Not even a pip at the centre, not even stone.

 

 

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