Tom Thompson

Report on the Willows in a Time of Color

The willows that enjoy the fall are those that sleep
as a team of whippets sleep. They let wind like blood,
make succulence a succinct thing. Intricate now, as vascular
systems expertly flayed. These willows infer nothing
from the slack fevers gathering about their root systems—
feral drifts of grass, unmoored shadows of swans,
dream-like bodies guarding the willows’ internal structure
loosely and with the odd crack of firearms.
Their skin has been applied by such lithe hands,
practiced in so exacting and delicate a violence,
that you cannot engage trees like these in conversation
nor distract them with tossed stones. They are not sad
so much as stringent, not doomed so much as enticing,
not eloquent themselves so much as a tool for your surrender
an amazement of brachia, prepared to let.



“Report on the Willows in a Time of Color” is from The Pitch (Alice James Books, 2006).