On First Seeing a U.S. Forest Service Aerial Photo of Where I Live

By James Galvin b. 1951 James Galvin
All those poems I wrote
About living in the sky
Were wrong. I live on a leaf
Of   a fern of   frost growing
Up your bedroom window
In forty below.

I live on a needle of   a branch
Of   a cedar tree, hard-bitten,
Striving in six directions,
Rooted in rock, a cedar
Tree made of other trees,
Not cedar but fir,

Lodgepole, and blue spruce,
Metastasizing like
Bacteria to the fan-
Lip of a draw to draw
Water as soon as it slips
From the snowdrift’s grip

And flows downward from
Branch to root — a tree
Running in reverse.
Or I live on a thorn on a trellis —
Trained, restrained, maybe
Cut back, to hold up

Those flowers I’ve only heard of
To whatever there is and isn’t
Above.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2013).

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This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2013
 James  Galvin

Biography

James Galvin is the author of several collections of poetry, including Resurrection Update: Collected Poems, 1975–1997 and X (2003); a novel, Fencing the Sky (1999); and The Meadow (1992), a prose meditation on the landscape of the Wyoming-Colorado border and the people who live there.

Galvin’s work is infused with the genuine realities of the western landscape, while at the same time not shirking difficult questions of faith, . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Trees & Flowers

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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