Newborn

Being but men, we walked into the trees
Afraid, letting our syllables be soft
For fear of waking the rooks,
For fear of coming
Noiselessly into a world of wings and cries.

         Dylan Thomas

Birth is a kind of entrance. But how fast the river seems.
Faces turn to greet the moon. You walk into the trees.

Outside the rain collects in pools; a sudden breeze
runs through the Hall, and stops. You walk into the trees.

The city breathes, its pores secrete, it bleeds; streets
unfold, towers cleave. We open up and walk into the trees

and find a girl with knotted hair and matted, rough chemise
who sees herself reversed and flipped and tails into the trees.

The gates of Bedlam swing unhinged, release shale beads
and bracelets from the brickearth. All this turned into trees

will crease and freeze – nothing ceases, but is stored, as seas
hold heat, as a heart grips another. We listen to the trees.

Refugees in borrowed clothes will come in twos and threes,
restock the valley, ford the rivers, walk among the trees,

map the perfect sphere of skull, still fusing, crumpled knees;
your eyes’ dark blues and greens return a forest to its trees.

Being not machines but men, we misremember in degrees.
But then, as Thomas told, we dream and walk into the trees.

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