May/June 2016 • Vol. XXXVIII No. 3 Nature's Nature |

The Late Ash Trees

Needles rained in the pine grove.      Acorns tumbled in the tall grass. I was about to inflict phenomenology      upon the oak trees. I was about to dispense some prescription      like a film of dust to coat the leaves, with chainsaw at hand, my remedy      a razors edge. Then the wind that held and released the trees      spread before me like a haze of pollen. Behind me, butterflies self-immolating      on the compost heap. How softly they speak. The hawk      that settled on the dying ash curled his claws like an inquiry      around a limb pocked with d-shaped excisions,      what the emerald borer had consumed and left behind. How swiftly      they go, from each and all.

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Ann Townsend is the author of Dime Store Erotics and The Coronary Garden (poems) and editor of Radiant Lyre: Essays on Lyric Poetry (with David Baker). She directs the creative writing program at Denison University and is a founding member of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.

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