A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Over the branch of a small cherry,
below the white flurry of blossoms,
someone has looped a maroon sash.
It seems somber, a marker maybe.
Today, the cherry trees are out
throwing their white and pink confetti,
tree after tree, on the people passing,
and everyone has a half-smile,
or a camera, or two cameras.
Those not pointing at the children balanced
on overhanging branches or the man at the easel
painting a blur of trees at the water’s curve
are waiting their turn to compose the same
arched branch, the same blossoms that erupt
improbably across a gnarled, black trunk.
Beyond the sash, which rises and falls
with each gust, stands a woman,
back to the water, perilously close.
She cups a fragile stem as she smiles
at the man who waits for a moment
when no one passes. The air is inhabited—
her hair full of petals, his shoulders
spattered—and petals rise from the gorund,
eddy at their ankles and fall. Hold it.
Hold it. Jefferson’s dome’s a brilliant
bone, the blunt-nosed paddleboats
swirling around, sky blue;
the cherry trees are not yet green.
And the sash someone might have found
snaking in the grass by the sidewalk,
the sash someone might have bent
to retrieve, waits for its absent owner,
a patient, unwavering presence
against which the rest may be measured,
against which the rest seems to move,
though the sash moves too like an arm
raised to gesture: look, look.
Copyright 1996 Sandy Solomon. First published in Pears, Lake, Sun by University of Pittsburgh Press. Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.