Zoë Landale

Writer & Indie Publisher

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Poem from Eninstein's Cat

TODAY THE GIANT COTTONWOOD(The Toronto Quarterly, Poetry Month 2013, April 7)

Today the giant cottonwood
said Come here. Its shape a raised hand                           command
with blunt fingers snapped off;
wrist and forearm formed the trunk,                                   you were in a funk,
thicker through than you are tall.                                         a spiky purple squeeze ball

You went, grumbling:
what wisdom did cottonwoods have to impart?
You worried about breakage;
maybe that’s all cottonwoods knew.
Off the path, through the salmonberry,
to balance on the mossy root
high as a desk.
The trunk at earth level had split admit it, this tree’s been through
to show crumbly brown.                                                             the lores [of wind]

Why should you believe anything
a cottonwood with a rotten heart said?
But you leaned your forehead against its ridged bark,
peeked to see you were hidden from the path
though your black dog crashed about in plain sight.
incite comment
The cottonwood showed light in rings.

You’d seen that before, the hustle and shimmer
of orange, then dark, orange then . . .
The rings flickered like light on water.

The cottonwood showed dark.
Then light came again but slowly.
Light spun like a plate,
like Jupiter’s rings, Neptune’s.

What was the tree trying to say?                      display, make tangible

Then a hole in your heart ripped.
These were the cottonwood’s days,
dark dark then light spreading out
the way a raindrop flattens on a convex surface:
at the centre is no-change.
Change, no-change. range of motion

The hurt you’d come with dropped
the way cottonwoods lose branches in a gale.
Who would have thought a cottonwood
knew so much about movement? alignment, the gentle grey


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