House of Sticks
Lindy has a thing for picking up sticks
wherever she goes—the park, of course,
but also parking lots, surprisingly, with
their flotsam of trash, will sometimes
yield souvenirs of trees, and people’s
front yards where a tree clapped its hands
and threw a twig, and the ocean coughs up
sticks among the kelp, wrecked histories
of trees from foreign lands, stories caught
in their cellulose and they’ll never tell.
Lindy has trampled on sticks, passed
many sticks by with hardly a glance.
She has picked up a stick and then
thrown it away. She has walked
with a stick and then cast it aside,
as if it had finished what it wanted
to say and its mystery was solved.
But some whisper to Lindy and Lindy
picks them up, holds them up to the sky,
turns them this way and that, studying
their curvature or architecture or God
knows what. Maybe she imagines
a skeleton with that bone of the tree.
Whatever they say, whatever they are
is for Lindy alone, her ears and her eyes,
and she won’t explain why if you ask
her, only shrug with indifference
holding on to the stick. And that stick
comes home, joins others in jars,
and Lindy’s house is a tree
of myriad limbs, a Joseph’s coat
of a tree. It must sing like a choir
only Lindy can hear, as branches
grow over the windows and doors,
break through the roof and reach
for the sky.
The Delicate Equilibrium
4 days ago