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A Poem Which Answers No Question
( / Midwest)

A Poem Which Answers No Question

You wrote this poem. Not me. In fact
all the things I ever wrote were just words
that tumbled out of mouths I loved.
I didn't write this.
You did.
Even in the woods, when we were younger on our backs
watching the trees and taking notes of how they intertwined
with sky. You jumped up,
you said 'This tree, this is the only one that matters.'
I was curious, and wasn't it just another
tree. But no. You told me it wasn't. You told me this one
would outlive them all. Maybe it did.
Maybe you were right and you ran your hands
down the bark and dug your hand deep
into the knot on the side.
'Do you feel it? ' you asked. And I didn't. Maybe
never did. But you wrote this, this is your poem.
You could have made me feel what you felt.
Even if it was all pain and madness.

Eventually,
I wrote a poem, you said, 'These words are plastic, ' and I said
but they are durable and reusable and you laughed
and rolled a cigarette but didn't smoke it.
Just to make a point.
I wrote another poem, two poems, a hundred. And you said
they're still plastic. What did you want from me? Don't you remember?
This is your poem. These are your words.
Fine,
then have these, wooden words carved out of old oak and
dry maple. Is this what you wanted? Words that stick in you
like slivers? That burn when you hold your matches to them?
What's more, you smiled, and I smiled, and we all fell down.
I felt something. I felt heat.
Is this what you meant when you asked if I felt it? All those years ago,
is this what you felt when you had your hand buried
in the knot?

Then later. Here is the river, this is my hand.
You took it and I felt what I think a river feels
as it falls over a dam. Now it gets interesting.
In this part of the story it's lucid
and no one is sure who the hero is. It might not even be
either of us. Here the tree drops it's leaves and starts to
lean. It's the wind, it's the soft dirt, it's the virus in us all.

I should be mad.
I want to be mad.
Not at the tree but the story.
Your story. Now, in this act there's a willow tree.
in this willow tree is a question.
in this question is an axe. But,
you said 'Go' and there I went, then
I said 'Go' and there you went.
In this story the sentences end with
unspoken secrets.

Is this the story you wanted? Now what,
I'm on my back and needing sleep. If
I write this part just right will you join me?
I have a sliver in my blood and it's
working it's way
out.

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