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Beech

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For a tree, you're the worst kind
of friend, remembering everything.
Pale-skinned, slightly brailled, blank
page of pre-adolescence. The way
the smallest knife-slice would darken
with time, rise and widen.

mark was here. Left his.
But these are the digs you're used to,
sufferer of mere presence,
scratched years, scratched loves
we wanted to write on the world
and couldn't trust to an eardrum.

(I scarred you myself long ago with
my own jack-knife, jill-name.
You took her as the morning
unsteamed around me. Took us
as we had to be taken, in.) Old relief,
new reminder, I was young, what could

I have written? Didn't care then, had
to see it scraped out, big letters beneath
your erotic nubs and crotches. O beech,
it's no big riddle: we fell in the forest,
you heard. Quiet, in your own way.
In your own way, spreading the word.

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2000 issue of Poetry magazine

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Beech

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