Poets for Science
Global Gallery

Tree Walk: An Improvisation


“It’s a little alone”

–Fred Moten


We walk, surveying the trees. I survey

how a person performs loneliness

with another. Look up, you say. Look up,

I say to my body. By the time it listens,

there are barely any trees left in this city.

You are already lonely somewhere else. I drift

back down to join you. You note, all their stresses

are the same. You’re near the same age as

these trees. Maybe our work is making sure

the right things leave our bodies. Maybe

our work is making. The other day, you were saying,

I was worried I was seeing sawdust leaking. It was

just the wind tampering with evidence of change.

Missing the trees as they’re dying I ask the forester

about trees and their final colors. Look down, you say.

I’m not sure where your power comes from

but it’s yours. I think you have it no matter how

you get there. I look up. I look down. Red plastic

ribbons keep vigil in light wind. Trees rot while

standing. Standing heat lamps burn willow oaks off

themselves but not every willow oak shows. Kneeling

at their feet, the forester flags his losses. He’s not

the same age as these trees. I look up. I look down: A city

is as strange as a tree. I talk my body through this, too.