Big Tree Poem Feature

J. C. Todd


What an exact moment,
beyond stop watch, clock, daily planner.
Nothing meted out. Pure season,
expression of something immense
that you barely glimpse.

Coiled tight like spirochetes, hundreds
squinched in a head, how many heads
on a bush? On a bank of them? Fragrance
when sun hits not green but not blossom.

Less cloud, longer light, a shift of wind
to south—imagine—detonation
as though bombs have been ticking below notice,
ticking in a rhythm so full of silence
who could count it out?

Each noon buds loosen, scent is more intense,
perfume you long for, whiff of an awakening
so piercing it will disappear as you open into it.
The brain can't hold such beauty
and keep the body running.
Just before it blows into bloom
you could die of it—lilac.

The few branches cut and carried inside
to suffuse the sheets, the dreams
will fade. You'll say they've lost
their scent, but it's been given
to you, and to stay alive,
you've had to forget.
Le dur désire de durer,
how harsh the desire to endure.

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