who, since the bloom of trees, has done nothing

but connect a leaf to the stem   that is

itself   not a stem   but what

supports and swells

at the pulvinus:   a sheathing of blade

at base   allows each leaf

a sway

of shifting orientation


when the wind


causes the greenness to fold   until the Fall


which is really a push —


each leaf leaves the branch from a push:

self-destruction built in as self-

protection:   the tree cuts what it needs to live

scissors its supply   chokes its veins

until   daily

this slender connection


can barely hold on

steadily increases its dangle


lets a firm wind finish the rest


the way a hand can caress

then leave

and take everything












the first line is inspired by Ross Gay’s “Ode to the Tongue Orchid”