Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2017  Vol. 16 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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When a tree falls and no one is there, it falls
into the earth below. I hear it. I hear it again.

In my last picture of Lisa, we are drinking
coffee and she says, my mind keeps going

off into the future. What if it is nothing.
She is bald, pale as birch, and her worried beauty

shadows my cup and version of that word: nothing.
In a smaller picture we are children together,

almost in love, awkward with unspoken things.
I thought it came to nothing, and here we are, drinking,

decades later, making plans for an autumn
without leaves. Or people. She has a fridge full of pot,

she laughs, medicine, and I do not see,
behind her quick charmed eye, the many trees on fire.

Or if she sees. I do not hear them as she leaves
for the subway tunnel, having said the thing

we never said, the otherworldly in the word
love that does not, cannot, happen. Perhaps it did.

Long ago in silence. And in the sound, again,
of branches falling, where there are none at all.  

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