we are not asked to see, the ridged folds
of the black walnuts, fallen, come veined
as any mind split from its skull, leaching
what little parades as peace. Rot
and wet. My right instep, sneaker's
underneath, crushes a once greener skin
gone brackish at the cap. Looking up,
the branches meet in an arch you can
walk under, pass through. And down
the road, when I hear the patient father
calling to his child stay away from the stick,
I know he means street because of the cars
and the highway in his head
that's been riddled for months now
with the tumors. The girl is seven.
She's putting some of the still unbroken
nuts in her plastic bag for her collage
because the seeds inside are small
and hard. I bring food to their porch,
I say you are in my thoughts. A week ago
when the wife asked, what's my name,
he said, you are the woman. She says,
It started with a pounding in the temple.
Then the years' cells brewing fault,
breaking bole from bark, furrows from solid
trunk making inroads. So we're standing
quiet at the door when a cardinal unseen
in the leaves spits its double spondees into air
because it is his season to do so.
Reap kernel. Make more of the blunt
limits, semifleshy. The branches
meet. Everyone loves hard as they can,
like it helps.