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

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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

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

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