Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Young Woman, A Tree

Passing that fiery tree—if only she could
      Be making love,
      Be making poetry,      
      Be exploding, be speeding through the universe
      Like a photon, like a shower
      Of yellow blazes— 

  She believes if she could only overtake
      The riding rhythm of things,
      Of her own electrons,
      Then she would be at rest
      If she could forget school,
      Climb the tree,
      Be the tree,
      Burn like that.

She doesn’t know yet, how could she
      That this same need
      Is going to erupt every September
      And that in 40 years the idea will strike her
      From no apparent source,
      In a Laundromat
      Between a washer and a dryer,
      Like one of those electric light bulbs
      Lighting up near a character’s head in a comic strip—
      There in that naked and soiled place
      With its detergent machines,
      Its speckled fluorescent lights,
      Its lint piles broomed into corners as she fumbles for quarters
      And dimes, she will start to chuckle and double over
      Into the plastic baskets’
      Mountain of wet      
      Bedsheets and bulky overalls—
      Old lady! She’ll grin,
      beguiled at herself,

      Old lady! The desire to burn is already a burning! How about that!