We Have Trees Now

more so than we did before, but now we know what to do with them.
We hang our troubles on them and wipe our shoes against them.
We go lethargic on the porch, we tear the bark with spindly fingers.
We soak up the sun with restless hunger.
So much sky we say in unison, where does it go, do we follow it? Do we let it get away?
For months we splay without a fence, door wide open—
blue and brash inside and out. Because we can, we keep saying, because we can.
We face a lush sense of life that we have nothing to do with.
We face our cravings and journey with a new kind, our new people;
They all possess smiles and frowns, but more windswept
expressions—no permanent downwardness of spirit,
the way it was back east.
And since we've left the city to be ourselves,
we still must face our needy souls—
full of want, compulsions.
Were we proud of this? The way we turned away?

But we've protected these habits, forgone others in return.
What is the profession of the culture-hoarder?
Who are the gatekeepers? Do we grace them with our backs?
Moreover our chests remain empty yet seductively warmed,
burning by the fire, our asses cold and exposed.
All the wood, crisp birch to shield our lazy lobes, rounded bodies,
our cerebrums and other parts.
Are we awaiting cheerless ambivalence to greet us in the West?
Cavernous and cloudless, unaffected by beauty. Let's be petulant,
this is us now, we say. We can't help but find ourselves lustful;
crying alligator tears with pails to our eyes, we didn't know we were here
we kept saying, we don't know how it happened. We thought and thought,
and finally we closed our doors on the trees
to hide what we grew temperate for
but resolve didn't find us,
not alive with force, we flew out of their arms.

Prageeta Sharma, "We Have Trees Now" from Undergloom. Copyright © 2013 by Prageeta Sharma.  Reprinted by permission of Prageeta Sharma.
Source: Undergloom (Fence Books, 2013)
More Poems by Prageeta Sharma