my friend could feel the two maples not being there
even in the dark—the consent of weight
to gravity’s long petition; all the angled,
captured space of them, released.
The front trees had fallen in the first storm,
which she spent in a cancer ward in Maine.
In the clean purview of her heartache
the hospital had been an airport, thin-walled: everyone waiting
to leave when it’s time, or past, for their departures;
arrivals down the hall—“gate 25B, as in boy.”
Since girlhood she’d collected sugars from the maples,
their sap pulled like soda through a straw.
Even this March it dripped through the surgical hole without tempo,
gathered until it could not gather more, fell
into a washed Gatorade bottle
the size of my chest cavity.
She boiled the sap, clear as water, until it obscured,
became apparent, sweetened
all day in the tiny kitchen
of what had been the servants’ quarters
as if to say to the house, the maples:
“we don’t have to worry about it, you see, it’s the past”;
this is a guest I know I have no bed for.
It felt good, she said,
to wake the next morning, stretch arms
overhead and see
the world obscured, having turned
finally apparent; good,
she said, that now everyone could see nothing was the same:
the roots had all been offered to the air,
the branches, more immense than distance had ever let on,
took up the whole yard.