To a Japanese maple in mid-April
The heavy spring rain pulled the night
All the way to the ground. Like shattered glass
It lay through dawn in the hollow. When I rose
The sky was the blue of starting over
But not forgetting. The stars had crawled
Up your trunk and were asleep in their green study.
The broken darkness, unsteady in daylight, lurched
Gracefully, two black swallowtails
Like dizzy memories of other nights that fell
To earth and survived the day.
Author’s note: This Japanese maple, located in Afton, Virginia, provided the leaves for the leaf-print illustrations in my new book Wind Intervals.