A TALE OF A T
T hurled itself down on the dry sweet grass
of the mowed orchard—part of its grandfather’s lawn
—then lay on its back, looking up into
a latticework of branches for the first time.
(T had always thrown itself down to rest.
It was only ten, but walking seemed such an effort
—dragging around a whole decade!
But before T kept its nose in the green blades.)
One old tree arm above was shaggy and gray,
bearded with bark, studded with leaves
and the marble shapes of beginning apples.
Through the applets and leaves and bearded branch was sky
as blue as a bedroom wall.
The astonishing crisscrossing circles and lines
exploded into a pattern so unbearable
T had to close its eyes.
Yet the awe was still excruciating.
To relieve the pain, it painted letters, dry and sweet
on an imaginary tablet just overhead,
distracting itself with a word.
The one it chose—was it a choice, or a looming?
was lattice: two t’s in the middle
and lattice is made of T’s proliferating
just as the branches did.
An apple could hang on every t!
All of the ages of the world crossed above,
grandfather’s bearded arm a branch
off the trunk… the trunk of… of life was a t:
from the infinity of the decade T had lived
it watched each apple increase into its girth,
the whole proliferating into lattice
while wonder whorled up like a fan blade,
and the world rose in its wind
and T rose
upright and at ease
beginning to walk toward the house
in search of a tablet
where it might write down
how it left the burden
of its decade on the ground.
—from Rattle #32, Winter 2009