Carol Bennett   © 2010 All Rights Reserved


The trees in Shrewsbury are best
            when their leaves are gone,
            midwinter grays the right light to see them in.
Some streets are better than others,
            but there are trees everywhere.
Kathy doesn’t notice the trees, only the dogs,
            but Marc can talk about them as if they were old friends,
            as if the town were inhabited only by things with roots.
I watch Kathy’s eyes as they follow the young men who follow her;
            it’s uncertain which one is analogous to dog,
            who is leader, who is being led,
            but they love her like young pups,
            and frolic with her at the train station,
            spreading and unashamed,
            showing her their tattoos and hidden poetry.
            Her eyes go wide.
Marc, on the other hand, only holds out small plants
            which he grows in his office overlooking the station:
            you can’t see in or out for the foliage.
Those boys are carving their names into tree trunks again.
Marc is leading a walk among the trees.
It’s February; the world is silver and the trees, some hundreds of feet tall,
            look like the Silver Splashers at the YMCA in town,
            all glorious spindle and arc, arms hanging over the roadway,
            nothing ashamed about them, and proud of their scars.
They beckon to everyone in their silent manner.
Who wouldn’t want to stand under their boney knees?
Who wouldn’t want to touch them?

Under these leafless canopies, Marc and Kathy
            have met a thousand times
            without ever having had to meet each other.


Laura McCullough
Copyright © 2010  

Laura McCullough’s poetry collections include Panic, winner of a 2009 Kinereth Gensler award, forthcoming from Alice James Press, Speech Acts, forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press, What Men Want, and The Dancing Bear, as well as two chapbooks, Women and Other Hostages, forthcoming, and Elephant Anger. She will appear at the 2010 Dodge Poetry Festival.


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