Mary Street

Walking home alone
In the electric sheen of post-thunderstorm April evening,
The night is lambent with reawakened moonlight;
The street is tossed
With foolish bits of flying energy
Released from pre-storm torpor
By the punk of lightning’s sulphur,
By the voice of thunder in these mountains.
Branches arc across the streetside,
Narrow dark curves of dispossessed tree
Flung down from home by wind.
Leaves, like paper-thin mice with brains made frantic by rain, hurry past,
Their voices the sylvan inheritance
Of each season’s violence,
Done to trees:
The pressure of ice in winter,
Its weight on branches in leafless stillness,
The intemperate blasts of spring,
As cold air gives way to warm,
As frost is displaced by the small bright fires of growth in wood.
I recall the August blasting
Of a favorite live oak by lightning:
A ravaged ash alone in a dry field,
A burnt sentinel made electricity’s victim—
Then autumn’s disavowal of green,
Its dismantling of that cloak of shuddering chlorophyll,
Its dispersal of color into earth,
The souls of sweetgums made ready for the ascetic winter lives of owls
And sleeping animals,
Each naked branch a voiceless prayer
Of restoration and of pagan grace.

copyright 1997 l.k. sorrells

Mary Street

Laurkat

Jasper, United States

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