Spring 2009 • Vol. XXXI No. 2 Poetry |

Woman inside a Tree

  After a film by Shirin Neshat In the Iranian movie, the woman who stands inside the tree doesn't wake. Like the butterfly, she is dreaming the world, or she is dreamt by it. Here, sniff her hands. She knows your father. She's met your mother. From which direction do her half-dreams come? Over the ridge: a village of men in dark shirts and pants. It is not that she can make them inconsequent. It is not simply a matter of sleeping. She slips inside herself, as one does, into the folds of the trunk. Her roots meet blood sacs. Hermitages. Chunks of amber. Oh, crown—she knows the birds, even the large ones. Today, the announcement. The president is sending in more troops. In direct violation of the peace the people asked for. What can one woman do, a desert shrine? The camera focuses within the compound, the courtyard, the stone arcade. There is not enough oil, not enough water. Even now, the men are breaching the stone wall. Yet, it is we who are terrorized, on her behalf.

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Melissa Kwasny is the author of four books of poetry, most recently The Nine Senses (Milkweed Editions, 2011). Her prose collection, Earth Recitals: Essays on Image and Vision, was recently published by Lynx House Press (2013). She lives in western Montana.

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