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Dutch Elm

I miss the elms, their "crowns of airy dreams,"
as Virgil calls them, their towering cathedral branching
spread into a ceiling above the lonely sidewalks of Ohio
where the first elm deaths were reported in America.
I miss in particular the perspective looking down
the distances of all those Elm-named streets disappearing
into dusk, the last sun turned the stained blue of church windows.
I miss standing there, letting the welcome dark make me invisible.
I miss the birds starting to sleep, their talking in their songs becoming
silent, then their silence. I even miss not standing there.
And I miss a life of nothing but such moments, as if they'd never
happened and all you had to go on was their memory
and the feeling in the memory forgotten but brought back
again and again because you miss someone you loved forever.

Stanley Plumly

Against Sunset
W.W. Norton

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