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WEST

by Steven Kuhn

In the afternoon, she came to me.
 
Red wine summer spirit.
Strawberries and citronella.
 
In the 4:00 lull, the trees rested their thousand tongues,
deciding instead to think for a while
on whatever it is trees have to think about,
 
and we talked then,
of sacred things like shadows
and symmetry,
of caffeine and buzzing insects and quiet.
 
I think a tree’s only thoughts are ancient praises.
When they sing, the song is a patient one,
and when they are tired,
they dream of summers past.
Trees are largely unconcerned.
Trees are never bored.
 
 “The cool of the evening.”
I’ve always loved that phrase.
 
When the sacred shadows began their tired push for dominance,
she brushed my cheek and departed
to the prolonged thunder of a plane headed west.
She again became the wind, and I again myself,
and tired.  With all the old ghosts for company.
 
The trees stirred, dreaming, fitful,
About whatever it is that trees have to dream about,
and the contrail of a 747 became a streaking comet in the light of a sun
that seemed to be larger when it touched the horizon.

“West” and other poetry by Steven Kuhn will appear in the Silver Birch Press Green Anthology — a collection of poetry, short stories, novel excerpts, interviews, and essays from over 50 writers in the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Africa — available March 15, 2013.

Photo: “Monet Tree” by Ian Martin, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED