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I teach all day, get a weak signal at night,
Malbec, Idol, pasta, peas, cherries. Night, night.
Wake at three a.m. to wind-streaked dark, I know
death thinks about me, like a dog: we are present
to each other, afraid sometimes, but the relationship
is complex, without words, mostly wild, not fit
for inside a house, night. So I read the walls. Walk
the empty rooms like a vine. I begin, begin, begin, begin
nothing. Yesterday, I was rushing, signed an e-mail
Live, Heather, hit send, saw then, how I uncommanded
my death. Days are slow-coming, wide as
waves. The phone rings! My neighbor sees my light
at six in the morning, calls. It's about the tree. I watch him
from my kitchen window, at his kitchen counter, phone
in hand. Will I give my blessing to take down the old
maple tree on our lot line? My neighbor is ninety-two
years old. The tree is in its eighties. Outside, at dawn,
we three meet on the lot line, look up, into the sky,
up into the heavy limbs, laced with vine, the deaf
branches, the darkness, the streaky light, the depth, the black
tree, the lines; we do not touch.
We do not touch any of it this morning.

Heather Sellers

Gulf Coast

Winter / Spring 2014

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