By John Barr / from The Hundred Fathom Curve: New and Collected Poems
"Mm," I thought of your slash-and-burn approach
to pruning. "Cut to the bone of bark, this one
won't come back." Here at summer's end
I am informed of my mistake.
Not sooners, not Jack's bean,
not the Persian Expedition
or the Crown of Thorns'
infestation of Pacific reef
bests this vegetable version of eruption.
Out of the ground in a surround of trunks
merged half to tree, hand over hand
up downspouts, stucco, the failed copper of gutters,
green creepers the windows barely hold
at bay declare, from the antenna's mast,
a quarter of the house rattanned.
Even now new shoots depart the mother bundles,
like biplanes execute slow rolls, shallow
dives, the stall. Their leaps of faith–of six feet,
more–into the yonder of their kind
try for anything at all: the lob,
the double helix, the lazy eight of infinity.
In lieu of sight a sure touch for what
comes next, they find the grounds for another try
or fail, canes braiding themselves to rope
in vacancy. They base in air
small Permian fronds, refreshingly thornless;
lavender puffs the blunt bees bore and buss.
Under the overhang, overwhelmed, I write
"Offspring of wistful and hysteria.
God in my garden, rooted good."