Richard Foerster


Last night, the fool in me waking,
as if half-drunk, wanted to dance
when the wind came up, insistent as surf,
and lofted my bedroom window’s sheers
like veils about my shoulders. A wish,
a whoosh, a clacking like castenets
moved through the limbs of the aspens

that border my lawn, had set them
dervishing, the whole congregation,
moonlit, on tiptoes, as if in frenzied
praise of a god made manifest, riding
on a sweep of wind, and I felt certain
the aspens would endure again
the quaking current of that ecstasy.

In light it’s hard not to believe
optimism is just stubborn pretense.
This morning three trees lay felled,
the roots exposed like hacked bones
in opened graves. I’ve stood before
in the stillness of afterstorm,
the everywhereness of it, among litter

strewn from far corners of my brain—
the stutter and static of news, brittling
green torn from clichés of hope
and tides of war and brewing storm—
and stared into a wreckage of words
left abandoned on the page
as if I’d never been that god of weather.

And so I wield again the grumbling
bite of a chain saw. I’ll make neat cords
of nuisance. I’ll hitch the stumps
to a truck and yank them out
easy as teeth, easy as taking a rake
to smooth over what’s past, tamp it flat
with my muck boots in a foolish dance.