They came at dawn, three angels
in jumpsuits, and felled the two ash
trees in front of the neighbour’s house.
Now from our porch, the view
of the sky stretched unbearable blue
rent open from a mesh of shadowgreen.
The smell of pine in the air, pungent,
wild. I thought this is how we arrive
at clarity. Through some clearing of
the living. When Grandfather was dying,
we found the little money he’d squirreled
away in a box too embarrassed to bequeath it
to any of us. Him pleading to us through
the final hours to please pull the fuckin’
shroud off his head… It was the yellow
mosquito net hung low above the bed
where he lay hallucinating, furious
we were trying to ease him toward some dark.
Our flushed faces to him then, like
the inhospitable cities of his youth.
So much loss manufactured by men alone,
so why not those angels at dawn
armed with their power saws putting back
simple terror into things.
Like the monsoons bringing the abattoirs
to the flooded city streets in Dhaka.
The bleeding child who supposedly asked,
Excuse me sirs, is your Lord counting
all unrequited airstrikes? Or
is His jurassic desire our extermination to be.
Now the wind flits on our porch like
a young unremembered thing, that one-legged
beggar I once saw hopping across the platform
to catch the Intercity, so he could beg
through the bogies, seven stations & back.
But don’t forget the wind, it has lost something
& doesn’t know it, sniffing about the heady
stink of sawdust & brine, stomping
on our roof again & again
like it has stepped on so much blood
drying from small wounds.
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