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Smoke Tree

            Cotinus coggygria

I was hiking half a world from home

when I saw a smoke tree on the trail ahead

smolder into a lather of light, plush

as powder in the heat-choked air—

and clustered along spinules, thin

as capillaries, a tiny arson flared,

then rose into a stratosphere

where the ash of all I was and had

was rushing toward some distant ground

I’d planted once with such as this

in memory of someone dead, and from

that half a world away, a cloud returned

faltering with rain: I was no longer sad.

from The Burning of TroyFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2006
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Poems Richard Foerster

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