NOTHING LOSES LEAVES IT'S ALL FOREVER LOSING LEAVES

A splitting tree stands wind-shook by

the slender trees swaying lost branches

scarred low on their sides, stands

 

lately deciduous, weighted thin

with first fall. Along Sha Wan Drive

towards the pool the yellow oleander

 

flowered like wet tissue ceaselessly

like paper rain, the grained cement

the yellow, yellow oxidizing white

 

the dogs you’d muzzle not to let them

have a taste. My mother takes us

to the pool, it’s maybe June, canary

 

petals landing on our heads, my sister

small enough she wears my t-shirt

for a dress, the cinder is so slick

 

with petaled rot—it used to seem at least

a life so deadly might not ever die—

my mother catches a heel, falls

 

she sends us both ahead to wait for her

thirteen years ago up past the trees.

If we could be there still perhaps

 

I’d run to her, kneel in the dappled light

piece the foot together from concrete

although we are each different women now.

 

Up here the whitened apples nod on trees;

shrubs waste to burgundy anemone in snow.

All that grows leaves is breaking

 

all splits at root. Some mends. I’ll watch

those slim arms birth entire skies of buds.

Behind me at the gate in the warm rot

 

my mother, foot stuck in a gutter, stands

and all her pain is yellow blooms.