Jan/Feb 2014 Poetry

Two Poems

by Jude Goodwin

Image courtesy of British Library Photostream

Image courtesy of British Library Photostream

The Tree

I've asked the management to chop down the tree
by my window, the skinny naked sorry creature
will die soon and daily I reach for the phone
to take my request back. I watch the sun
breach distant white mountains through a latticework
of twigs, and I can hear them on my window pane
at night when the wind plays knucklebones
with the neighborhood. I witnessed the leaves
turn holy with beetles and caterpillars set up tents
for the summer. The tree drips thick tears
that ruin the bright blue paint on my new car
and nothing grows at its feet. Three years now
I've tried to bring sibling shrubs into the garden.
I've asked them to chop it down but maybe
I'll get them to wait until the end of the year
I'll bring out the long stick and lift the light
strings high into its branches
one more time. That ugly tree.



Overhead, a bright airliner
breaks apart into starlings
and falls to the autumn yard,
brown on brown,
where history's long worm
flexes its muscle
and moves inexorably
into winter.
And who stands there,
laces undone,
refusing a sweater—
Antigone eyeing the garden
mounded like a slain brother
left for the hounds
and rot. "These things
used to be so important."
She speaks to the blue frost, to the coffee
that waits inside.


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