Summer 2001 • Vol. XXIII No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 2001 |

A Flag of Honeysuckle

From the brush pile I wrestled                 brittle limbs and shoved them in the chipper. As I worked down the six-month pile of sticks, a slender                     green flag sprang up—a shoot           of severed honeysuckle gripping the mud. I tugged it; it                  resisted, rooted,    white threads infiltrating the earth, and suddenly I was on the Burlington Street bridge in Iowa, watching                  a cottonwood. Spring flooding had flushed it from the riverbank and trundled it         downriver till it snagged. Every day I crossed the bridge twice and twice a day I paused     to marvel at the tree. Its gray-green surviving leaves, fed            by the heavy river, drooped in the June, July, and August heat but held     their ashen green, and on the bridge I conjured with

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Andrew Hudgins teaches at Ohio State University. His most recent book is American Rendering: New and Selected Poems. In June, Simon and Schuster will publish The Joker: A Memoir and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish A Clown at Midnight.

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