LONGINGS BRITTLE AS THE CROOKED
Longings brittle as the crooked
branches of October elms that line the residential
streets where families incubate
behind glass. Be to me as rain, asked the rain.
Be to me as wind, asked the wind.
Be to me as darkness, asked the darkness
& only the darkness answered, siphoning
light from under the garden’s leaves.
Dogs scratched one backyard tree season
after season, until one season the leaves refused.
The burgundy trees are almost mute, it seems,
when before in blushes of colour they would return
now pale images of places something terribly burnt
stole itself away replace them: the shoal beside
the sea that stored heat in frigid evenings,
cave on a cliff that hid two painted horses,
the empty double seats of a streetcar that cut off the track
to ring a kettle lake, deep in winter trees.
Be to me as rain, I ask the rain, wash
away this stiff turf, just the smallest patch, show me
the door in the earth so I could
descend and for a time, just a time, experience
the root’s eyeless dedication, relieve
what worries the wood, emerge a courage of leaves.
From Laws & Locks (Signal Editions, 2015) by Chad Campbell
(Drawing made out of soil, from a series called "Dirt," by Marsil Andjelov Al-Mahamid)