Midnight Poem, April 2, 2015

The brilliant snow has melted

Leaving the forest a muted charcoal rendering of itself

Vertical lines

All grey and black and shade

I walk among the varied oaks and maples

The smooth-trunked beeches, the anemic sycamores

All dry and brittle; still in deep sleep.

In one crease I see undersaplings

Whose dark leaves have already begun to unfurl

Conspicuous, early for the party.

They are the Paw-Paw trees

With their long, broad, tropical leaves

And it makes me wonder

Why these trees are on a schedule different

from everybody else in the neighborhood.

Are these strangers from the south

Here by some one-hundred-thousand-year accident?

Why do they anticipate Spring earlier than the Hickory or the Ash?

They alone bear soft fruit in these woods

Theirs like the banana or papaya

Not the hard acorn or chestnut that dominates here.

Who is like the Paw-Paw?

Out of place and reaching for warmth and light

Out of due season

And bearing fruit soft and sweet in the midst of hardshell neighbors?

Copyright 2015

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