A Wayfarer’s Guide
for my father
Topolyas never live past 50, you’d say.
Fastigate, columnar from growing so close,
the poplar from which the wind carved our faces
is now the icon of your voice.
Fermenting sap oozes from the cracks.
Agitated, white hairs waft & float in the warm dry days
dispersing seeds blinded with fluff.
Tremulous leaves & wrinkled bark –
that durable word,
more poplar than the poplar itself –
a tincture of the land I never saw.
Sundays you played chess. Past the factories
in a small wooden house surrounded by hollyhocks
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