Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Sandra McPherson: Far Away in Time, the Senses Return to Me as I Identify with That Tree

The way the lightning-split

     willow was tugged,

wandy and half still alive,

     it refused to uncrook.

So, nearly into the lake,

     the big man ran his bull-

dozer at it till the machine

     climbed the trunk.

.

A tree unleashing animal noise,

     a three-hour oration

before stench from cut roots

     blew it out.

Wet pliable young wood

     balked at the daylight.

Unnerved intuition of those

     who would have perched there.

.

And witnesses hanging back

     while the man,

linking chain around

     the mammoth fragment,

hastened to finish —  

     before dark.  And before dark,

he dragged off his weeper

     handcuffed.


First published in The Yale Review, Vol. 98. No. 1, January, pp. 39-42. 2010.  Reprinted in Certain Uncollected Poems, Ostrakon Press, 2012.

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