Three Trees

By Mary Jo Bang b. 1946 Mary Jo Bang
The aqua green goes with the pink
in a way no one knows what will happen.
Every step is a dangerous taking.
Amazing the time span of a trunk
(a door opens in it and suddenly,
someone is asking how this came to be).
The green curtain is a pressed chime
which when rung rings in a dogwood
white as if a storm were approaching
its green extreme.

Brick crumbles into living pond particle
while a bent hook holds back
the last dissolve.
An uneasy leap over a sharky sea.
Gravity plays its little emotive role.
It’s Elm Street all over
again, ragged walkways lead to Toon Town.
Hello kids. Hello Jimmy Neutron.
The blanket rises, and under it,
a fetishistic pompadour

green, greener and paler than bluebird.
But hush, the nuclear power plant
is about to blow unless
Jimmy can locate the elusive button.
A siren and standing-by fire truck.
It looks like a lost cause until presto,
a messenger. A racketing aside.
The day is dragged here and there but still
can’t be saved. BAM. Immediately
the next second clicks into the skyscape
apocalypse. In the dust, a celluloid woman
mows a multilayered lawn.
The arch overhead reads, O Art
Still Has Truth Take Refuge. Where? There.
There, there, says someone.

“Three Trees” reprinted from Elegy by Mary Jo Bang. © 2007 by Mary Jo Bang. Used with permission of Graywolf Press, Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Source: Elegy (Graywolf Press, 2007)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Mary Jo Bang b. 1946

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Social Commentaries, Popular Culture

 Mary Jo  Bang

Biography

Mary Jo Bang was born in 1946 in Missouri and grew up in Cool Valley, outside of St. Louis. She originally studied sociology, earning both her BA and MA in the subject from Northwestern University. She earned a BA in photography from the Polytechnic of Central London, and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. She is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Apology for Want (1997), which received the . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Popular Culture

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.