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Winter Journal: Wind Thumbs through Woods

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slant hand of beech leaves
shag of oaks before water
When did you go missing from me?
That passage between limb and slipped skin
gouged hickories, the ermine-bright birch
through all that is traveling slopeward
       circleting leaf through branch weave
       corymbs of curled leaves
       lone cedar document rising
Through trees that far land moves descant
the old rusts and pastes undershined
Don’t you ever think this is so strange?
the sibilant drift of dried leaves
the coming down all to some shambles
the encroachments on the innermost things
Don’t you feel how everything is strained beyond
       certain remembering?
The limbs break their fragile whisks into
The sky is a shroud pulled up over
Each leaf of the beech has its wisdom held fast
its little death ship
I cannot wake up from inside
       this burrow into fundaments of leaves
The cold drills down into the stone
the almost-extracted green
the bird cloaked up under the ribs
the dull gleams

Emily Wilson, “Winter Journal: Wind Thumbs through Woods” reprinted from The Keep. With permission Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2001.
Source: The Keep (University of Iowa Press, 2001)
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Winter Journal: Wind Thumbs through Woods

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