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Deborah DeNicola: What Words?

What Words could fold this paper into a tree?

How can I coax its ridges back into bark, rub its creases

into nodules, flatten its already concave belly

for someone to carve a note to the green


world that we have not intended such forest-sorrow?

That we’re merely lax, hungry people, unhappy and

often lazy—How could we have better read the signs

from the nesting tree-hearts when we made motors,


sheared limbs, lit fires, and lay one board over another

dividing space from space to hold more things?

We’re worried now there’s no way back

to the words our ancestors sing. All the rivers are damned


and directed. Do the bridges know global positions?

Does soil beneath buildings feel each aching acre

where once was an orchard? Hard to imagine

whose idea it was to hide missiles in silos among pastures


and meadows in God’s backyard. Will our exhaust

banish the stars until we have nothing to read by

but our own glaring florescence? We recall chewing roots

as in an old dream, how they offered themselves,


promised the knowledge to temper all we’ve mastered

blindly. Even the Tree of Life’s violation has come down

to a vellum invitation. Hospitals offer oxygen ridden

with airborne diseases. There’s no air in the air there!


Tell me what spell to conjure, my dear disposables

to free you from input and output, stacking

and shredding. What can I say to get you to share

your healing shelter, your flowering secrets,

birded branches to hold us in shade once again.


Deborah DeNicola is the author of many books including Where Divinity Begins published by Alice James Press.

Copyright 2018 Deborah DeNicola


One comment on “Deborah DeNicola: What Words?

  1. Tricia Knoll
    May 31, 2018

    I love this poem. So many words caught my attention: forest-sorrow, vellum, chewing roots.

    Liked by 1 person

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