background image
in plain air 163
A forked stick all winter,
With its new leaves, each pale,
Just uncrimping from the confi nement
Of its bud, individually distinct
At the tips of the thin twigs --
Dark, overlapping, they will make
Heavy clumps in the summer and be
The main fact of the tree, but don't yet
Belong to it, still glistening
In the fi lm of their newness, out in the air
Like a scatter of little green birds,
The pointed lobes of the leaves
With the shape and tilt of wings.
the window: in time of drought
The camellia leaves against it
will be sleeked with the cold
wet, despite their jouncing
under the big drops
and then the air going
gray-green with the rain
clattering suddenly,
water bunched, quivering,
dragged by the heavy wind
in long diagonal welts
across the old window,
as if the glass were melting --
as it is, in fact, the panes
being thicker at the bottom,
ever so slightly,
after all these years, from the slow
downward pour of the glass