To Petra, Wherever She May Be
Late afternoon in early September,
You sat on a bench
And scowled at gray sky,
Watching summer pale into autumn.
The tree outside shivered in the brisk air,
Shedding leaves like wet birds
That flutter to the ground.
And for a moment,
The tilt of your chin
And the sway of the trunk
Caused branches to knot and twist,
Their tapering limbs like blood vessels
That fanned across the reflection
Of your cheek in the glass.
The black bark of your arteries and veins
Pulsed with the sudden breath of your vitality.
Did you know that your face
Glazed upon a tree in windowpane
Became the most real thing to me?
Like I could trace the outline
Of your circuitry and curved cheek in the cool glass
And draw from within you
The immense strength that drove you so?
But precious months trickled away,
And your body betrayed your heart,
Sighing away despondently
On a bleak December day.
But your face in the tree
Is permanently seared into my eyes.
As if I could sit at that window
And see your face instead of mine.