Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ghost Tree

All night its ululations rave
through its hollows. I fear
it will uproot and stalk the last
mile to my house and press
its grimace to my bedroom window
and demand I awaken and ease,
somehow, its stale desperation.
I don’t know what killed it or why

it has assumed this countenance,
but its oval gaping troubles me
the way the wind troubles whatever
remains of its pith. Last spring
a few buds exuded, a few leaves
trembled on the tips of branches,
but they fell early, leaving the tree
agape with that terrible grimace.

Now its warped geometry howls
with a grief I haven’t felt since
my oldest friend died of whiskey.
Awoken from a dream of unloved
and unfathered children, I loom
at the window and dare that tree
to present itself. The cry
of winter fills black and white spaces

etched by the glow of a planet
sinking in the west. The moon set
hours ago, and cold dawn plots
to cancel whatever the night owes
people like me. Back to bed
to cuddle with a purring cat,
the shriek of the ghost tree fading
as the wind shrugs out to sea.