When a dead tree falls in a forest
it often falls into the arms
of a living tree. The dead,
thus embraced, rasp in wind,
slowly carving a niche
in the living branch, shearing away
the rough outer flesh, revealing
the pinkish, yellowish, feverish
inner bark. For years
the dead tree rubs its fallen body
against the living, building
its dead music, making its raw mark,
wearing the tough bough down
as it moans and bends, the deep
rosined bow sound of the living
shouldering the dead.

September 10, 2002

Dorianne Laux
from Facts About the Moon


Philo on Providence

It's in the way the winds differ from what's written that I become
a cryptomnesiac, so that before long God's got me thinking I'm the one
who invented ether...but not the kind that makes you stupid or a Civil War
amputee, if you were lucky...because I think I read somewhere
that that's what used to pass for luck...but the kind that gives light
something to breathe, that I might then perceive every possible course...
as if before the second plane could have ever referred to anything
but the second plane...which when you think about it is forever
drawing in the the breath of the world's biggest fan...but not your biggest fan,
who blows you away in front of your home...if that's the home
Providence has given you...to which my father says, God forbid...
To which God says whatever it is God says.

Benjamin Paloff
from The Politics


Photograph from September 11

They jumped from the burning floors—
one, two, a few more,
higher, lower.

The photograph halted them in life,
and now keeps them
above the earth toward the earth.

Each is still complete,
with a particular face
and blood well hidden.

There’s enough time
for hair to come loose,
for keys and coins
to fall from pockets.

They’re still within the air’s reach,
within the compass of places
that have just now opened.

I can do only two things for them—
describe this flight
and not add a last line.

Wisława Szymborska
from Monologue of a Dog