Each natural passing articulates
the unnatural: every aunt has a son
who fell, or a daughter who hid in rubble
for two years, until that knock of officers
holding a bin bag filled with a dress
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.
When I was his student, Stan used to say that a piece of writing is never really finished, but only rests. Perhaps, too, our love for a person or place, when it is true, is always unresting. Isn’t that, after all, what “Dutch Elm” implies?
The things that abandon you get remembered different.
As precise as the English language can be, with words
like penultimate and perseverate, there is not a combination
of sounds that describes only that leaving.
January 10, 2020
POETRY DAILY MS 3E4 4400 University Drive Fairfax, VA 22030