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Flowering Tree



There's not enough light yet to know

what color they are, but all the flowers

are moving. Now the blossoms

dissolve, now they are birds,

their pale gray fluttering on hundreds of branches.

Of all the possible forms -- indefinite

millions -- these birds

swaying in drunken clusters on crabbed, fermented fruit;

their talk, small and intimate.

I try to step inside

but the whole thing wobbles and

takes off, a canopy

of feather, leaf, and petal in the shape of

a tree. All the words

fly out of the room. Whatever there was,

I might have stayed in this world

forever without seeing them,

or feeling their giddy

arrival in my skin, or tasting

in my mouth the color in the tree.

-- Nora Mitchell

Published in Contemporary Poetry of New England: An Anthology

ed. Robert Pack and Jay Parini (University Press of New England, 2002)