Margo Berdeshevsky

Amber Is a Tree’s Blood

O slow soul, no desultory walk, now, but you vault in the spin of knowing, how

close how very near the end or the broken shell of this beginning you are.


How will I have used the amber hour, this is all I need like blood, to know. They

speak of fathers, well, I have buried mine in several mounds, in the sound of please


and thank you, in the lost bells of generation, silent in Moscow, silent in Prague, silent

in Paris, well I have buried mine in the breasts of men I begged, honor a crying girl,


she needs a home at any cost. Loss, or a dignified coverlet? Well I have buried mine in

a place where they forgot to engrave his name, and I said “sorry,” for being the forgetful


one, O, Father, I wear your name etched in the moist of my unmarried mouth, Father,

will that do? Well, or do you require granite? We have spoken of forgiveness, touched


its chill Piscean body, teaming with the maggots of small minutes remembered. Days,

and years, are easier to grant an amnesty of maturity. Well am I mature, at fifty?


No desultory walk, now, no, go directly to the fire dust, place this body of a child with-

in a wheel within a wheel—child, with no child to honor but the hour. Well, brass


bell, cry, as gold. Bold-step to one tree that bleeds amber, for all that will be, a little

later. Sate the heart with such a father, rooted, in earth that cools this fever a little.


Mother-ground, show me roots, in your bare, dirty, kiss.



“Amber is a Tree’s Blood” is from But a Passage in Wilderness (The Sheep Meadow Press, 2007), and also appeared on Poetry Daily.