“Branches” by William Neumire

William Neumire


My wife wants a magnolia tree,
but only in full bloom
when pink teacups
drip from its discursive branches.
Hegel says this hive of petals
only exists because I’m here
in front of the neighbor’s yard
looking at it. But also,
that I only exist because my neighbor’s
looking at me uncomfortably
as he patrols his lawnmower rows,
and he’s only here
because of his wife who’s never,
as far as I know, won an award
or been called for an interview.
Still, she watches over him
as he slips into his car
for his evening shift. Because
she sees him go, and because
she worries what his night
will do to him, he gets to be
a man under an umbrella
of flowers.

from Rattle #34, Winter 2010

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