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Paper Birch

Peel me said the paper birch
and I said yes
to the skin
yes to the songs of the invisible birds
in the wood beyond,
yes to the limbless tree and branches.
Yes to the turquoise wash
to the colour of spirit in the holy cities
to the memory of pyres.
Yes the sacrifice of Isaac.
Yes our human terrors.
Yes to the leaf like an outstretched hand
to the bony finger
to the inky lichen
to the feather maple
to the moss.
Yes to the ochre spore-beads
to the lacy collar
to the tall stem
with its six-crowned tower.
Yes to the tufted cheat-grass
yes to the wild violet
to fat catkins carpeting the clearing.
Yes to the crocheted strand of cedar.
Yes, the velvet slipper
the foot stepping one past the other
yes, without destination.
Yes to keep going.

From the new collection Something Small to Carry Home (Quattro Books). Used by permission.

  © 2012 Tufts University Tufts Publications, 80 George St., Medford, MA 02155