– because Deborah Lynn loved a tree so much, she gave it a name
Some things come out of no place:
a jerk and a brake:
a flash and a fire:
a text and a heart bends itself in two:
the monster came with the rain,
the night bright blue then gray.
The soil on the hill tripped over itself
and the great black walnut
nesting on our back forty forever
took one tentative step,
then three and when it reached six
blocked its fall against the roof of our old barn.
Roots separating from the ground
where they had always planted themselves
and let its buried essence breathe the flesh of air.
Beautiful things cannot retain their beauty forever
like a mountain pass, a blue green river
the face of youth aging into thinness.
The Asian mulberry tree nearby did not let go of its fruit
and the purple sand cherry in the front yard hung on to its seeds.
When the madman passed,
the rain slowed to a stroll in the park,
our tree changed the focus of windows,
one limb now pointing straight into the air
as if it were a middle finger and knew how to shout.
After all what holds more beauty
then a middle finger across the palm of sky.
Michael H. Brownstein’s work has appeared in American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, and others. He has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987) and Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012).