This practical kid, born
Capricorn, actuary of the stars,
he's planning my death,
sure of the thermodynamic heaven
he's invented. Because energy
must go somewhere in this system,
in his I'll be repurposed as a tree.
And this comforts me, as no discount
coupons for paradise ever could.
Finally fitting, I'll meet my zero as
the absolute, container of soot buried
at a sapling's root. An organized boy,
he considers all options, which tree to
choose. I haggle for the ornamental—
jazz hands of a Jacaranda,
Fire Thorn to match my hair—
but am dismissed.
He insists on something sturdy:
What lives forever? Then, revising,
Or closest to? Next comes
the issue of where, harder
to answer, as Sequoias don't grow in
Nebraska. Let's put, he says, a pin
in that. It's his meeting, so we move
on to scenarios, the portrait he'll nail
to my trunk, a bench to sit on when
he comes to talk with me. But what kind
of bench? There's much to discuss with
this faithful child, who knows better than
to bet on the equilibrium, watching
ice in his glass, disordered by degree,
the first share holder in my entropy.
Ploughshares Spring 2014
Copyright © 2014 by Erin Belieu
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission