A long-looking wind blows
memory into drifts and dapples
the withered ego
of an old tree alone
among the husks and chaff.
There is no sound but the rattle-clack
of its old rheumatic branches
in a wind not of its making.
A wind form somewhere else that
bends it nonetheless away –
it always seems away
always bent away because a wind
from somewhere else
never has you in it.
The bent tree tends forever back
and barks ahead across
a thin space made on a frozen pond
in the blown prairie.
A thin space made
of a wisp-drifted memory
where, with no blades to cut the ice
with nothing so precise
we skated in our shoes and listened
for the deep – the ancient –
sound of gasping cracks that we knew,
because we were experts already
would never reach the surface.