What Will Stand
Speaking of family trees
someone is always trying
to get down to the primary root, that radicle,
and the dirt that nourished, so many forests ago—
a few hundred years by some calendars
by others, a few hundred more.
Who now can tell the seed for the trees—
after their many uncommon seasons
their numberless storms?
(And the dose of mad uncles, poor cousins,
idiot brothers, jealous aunts—each taking an axe
to history standing on its head)
just what's become of the bark is anybody's guess.
The hints are splinters under the skin
prickly only when touched—or so we suspect.
And the leaves, those susurrant green tongues
once rustling of hanky-panky, of milk in the coffee
are too soon turned to dirt themselves.
If there's a scandal in this, it's only this:
What will steadfastly stand on its head
will not be left alone.
In. the street, the first to go is sleep
And close behind, the mind
With its infinite limitations.
The earth turns
In a rattle of bottles and cans,
And rags and bones live as one.