My Arborist

Sneaking slow tokes on sly,
Sneaking small tokes from sky,
Arborist cuts tree as if swaddling child.

Each fall of branch wipes sweat
Off his faith, as he counts off
For birds: beefsteak marigold,

Bull whip to keep house bond in line,
Darkness arose by any other name,
While inside, bigger void waits.


As he breaks, I doze. In my dream,
Young man shows me how he fills
Hollow grave. He wants my body.

His smile is sun. When he pauses
To wipe drops from brow, he might think
Of lascivious mother, whose lock swells,

Smells of machine oil and sweat,
Her skirts upturned, wood handle
Polished by firm loving touch.


She wakes and then he wakes
And then I wake and then
My arborist resumes his carnage.

Without hesitation he rends:
Branch and trunk. Without hesitation
He eats life, rind and all.

My arborist's machine, it mewls
And wails outside. Inside, pain creeps—
Dull drift through dorsum.


Outside, my surly neighbour now
Observes wind, dancing dust. Inside,
I now anoint myself with lust.

I think I'd like to recollect
You on my deathbed, gathered here,
Enpetal'd thus, this mourning mess.

But who'll remember me?
This sheet, this sheer temerity
Of my undress,


This pure impertinence of
Simply keeping body live, dis—
Guising, feeding, satisfying it,

Doting upon, admiring it, this
Rank audacity of uttering
I am, as I now wake again,

When street is quiet
And this man is gone,
His cutting done.