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.