Tonight walks the rainforest of you,
and the ecologist’s English fails the imagination
between what’s beginning, just, to sleep,
and what’s waking. Some bird is
almost a 7-inch country song of carbon
repeating ‘til dawn, a turntable in the roots
with the orange-kneed tarantula. Old nightmare
cleared for palm oil, the clouds fall
through a copse of gutted, cusp legality
and the Madagascan rosewood in the neck
of my guitar. (The vinyl my father left
spinning so the folktales could re-jig
our genome; something in my bowels
either dysentery or lust—
Writing in the speech
of dream does more to destroy the real
than any of this. Maybe the poem’s a strangler
fig taking years to envelop the other
at heart. When the fig is felled she’s sequestered
in your dining room table, winter suburb.
Mahogany, sapele, we’ll take it in turns
dreaming while the other’s dying until
one of us wakes, unable to breathe, or move,
until understanding you, you’re gone, or I am.
The forest dying back into myself.
“Strangler Fig” first appeared in Connotation Press / Hoppenthaler’s Congeries, July 2013.