Untitled (for Rachel Shaw-Rosenbaum BR ‘24)
A few have burst into green already. I don’t know them, but there they are,
announcing the arrival of spring. There was sun
but there’s none today.
We should all still be reeling.
When I return to this place, the tree
might look like a mockery,
but it didn’t happen weeks from now it happened yesterday, and
the weeping shapes and little buds
you have to squint to see
make this current view a picture of weeping.
I never knew a tree other than a willow could be.
Maybe I could never be like her, even among masks and distance
and a room that faces the rising sun.
The tree doesn’t suggest the validity of any goal,
bent, broken-backed, long as it is tall,
opaquely suggesting a hint of life by its stand.
All the cut roses will wither into dust, and her name
will never replace the place I sit,
but the tree will remain, bursting into glorious color
of a sort that can’t be seen
on this day that is gray with green across the way.
I can’t cope with the idea in any capacity,
but the tree counterbalances. It hasn’t noticed.
It’s bent over backwards anyway, so the rest of us are just joining in.
Its buds are miniscule after the equinox,
beaten down by a cold, cold winter,
yet there they sit.
I worry that she and I built ourselves on shaky foundations
and hers collapsed while mine only haven’t yet.
But the tree’s foundations are shaky,
and it budded for the equinox
and by the solstice will drape itself
in the lush greenery appropriate for the water in the air outmatching the air in the ocean.
That’s unimaginably far away, yet in the great solstice snowstorm
this day was unimaginably far away too.
The tree has to assume the solstice will arrive;
despite it all, it must believe in summer days.
Does it lament the time lost in winter
when its color is no more than a memory?
Indeed not, and this is why it and I and she are not the same.
The tree does not understand what it has lost, and cannot do anything but go forward.
I know what I have lost, but proceed anyway, not because there is no other choice–
oh no, not because there is no other choice–
but because I want to
and I can
and I believe
that everything will be alright