The Storm-struck Tree

By Jessica Greenbaum Jessica Greenbaum
As the storm-struck oak leaned closer to the house —
The remaining six-story half of the tree listing toward the glass box
Of  the kitchen like someone in the first tilt of stumbling —
The other half crashed into the neighbors’ yards, a massive
Diagonal for which we had no visual cue save for
An antler dropped by a constellation —
As the ragged half   leaned nearer, the second storm of cloying snow
Began pulling on the shocked, still-looming splitting, and its branches dragged
Lower like ripped hems it was tripping over
Until they rustled on the roof under which I
Quickly made dinner, each noise a threat from a body under which we so recently
Said, Thank goodness for our tree, how it has accompanied us all these years,
Thank goodness for its recitation of the seasons out our windows and over
The little lot of our yard, thank goodness for the birdsong and 
squirrel games
Which keep us from living alone, and for its proffered shade, the crack of the bat
Resounding through September when its dime-sized acorns
Land on the tin awning next door. Have
Mercy on us, you, the massively beautiful, now ravaged and charged
With destruction.
We did speak like that. As if from a book of psalms
Because it took up the sky

Source: Poetry (May 2013).

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2013
 Jessica  Greenbaum

Biography

Jessica Greenbaum’s first book, Inventing Difficulty (Silverfish Review Press, 1998), won the Gerald Cable Prize. Her second book, The Two Yvonnes (2012), was chosen by Paul Muldoon for Princeton’s Series of Contemporary Poets. She is the poetry editor for upstreet and lives in Brooklyn. She received a 2014 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Home Life, Nature, Trees & Flowers, Religion, The Spiritual

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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