The tree is empty save for red berries and full, green leaves, until you come with a partner one Saturday, early. Checking out the territory, you dance on its branches: one inside - then out - one inside - then out. I have questions for you: is it nesting time? can this be your new home? will the berries be enough? The tree is empty, filled only with hope as you navigate its branches. I sit, empty too, still as a plant, watching you: afraid to move - scared you'll fly away.
The trees are red and yellow, still –
panting for wet. Their silence hurts me.
One fruit tree in the city-orchard
mistakes fall for spring,
blossoming out of season.
As dawn broke today
also the skies broke and fell.
Ahhhhh – rain!
I give thanks, bowing to the skies
on behalf of the trees. —Mary Elyn Bahlert, 2014
I thought the dark skies, the distant thunder, lightening crashing were outside the screen door. Inside, I smelled the dust, heavy. Like a fly on the screen, I waited for the storm. I thought the heaviness came from outside, that it drifted into the house on beads of water in the air, or on a cloud - part of the sky, fallen to earth. Sometimes, here, the air gets heavy. Sometimes the earth smells of itself after a heavy rain. Then, I lift my head as something inside of me - heavy, old - moves. I am the dark sky. I am the distant thunder. I am the crashing bolt of light. I swing my head into the air to rid myself of the storm, a bridle. I know the storm. I know its edges, lightening-marked. I know its dangers: the draught of wind, the spiral cloud - threatening, the building rage - the sizzling. I know the calm: emptiness in the wake of the wind. I thought the storm had arrived uninvited: a stranger, short to stay, not kind, but firm - a stranger who changed the landscape, forever. I thought the storm had drifted here, mistaken. I imagined it that way.