Join us Wednesday, Oct. 16 as Alice Derry and Tess Gallagher open our Fall Writing Series.
Like Vine Maple Red in the Fir
The season turns.
The trees wound the streets.
We too want to be touched.
We press a scab
to feel the pain. Or tongue
that place in the mind
which yields a death.
Last week, your grandfather. The old coot,
95 and every relative furious and mute
by the time he was sixty.
So you don’t cry. It’s a big relief,
but we move about all week
wondering if eating is really appropriate.
His death is like vine maple red in the fir
on a hillside. Like meeting a deer in dark trees.
Not scary. Just a chill down the spine,
and the exhale is easy.
The lung cancer death of our friend’s father isn’t.
But we envy her trembling openness.
Every day the dark comes earlier. Their grip
loosened by frost, the leaves hold
a fevered light in their consumption.
Illuminated texts. Their authors were after
the burning bush—the voice
© Alice Derry, 1986. Content downloaded from 188.8.131.52, 10/4/19; Published in Ploughshares, Vol. 12, No. 4 (1986), pp. 200-201