A Left-Branching Language

      by Judy Halebsky

In Japanese there’s a grammatical structure for something that
just happened

fig trees have a second bloom, smaller and less sweet

                                      what forces work against gravity?
                                                                what word for these kinds of trees?

Bashō can write about a branch that swayed in the wind
                      and mean the branch just now stopped swaying

                          our nights shaded against valley heat, vining him into me
snails, aphids, bumblebees, sparrows

skin heals in tendrils, in scars, in lines, bumpy, purpled, not weakened
exactly but less able to fold, less eager to stare into the sun

                                                                                 late August, leaves turning
                       a sprinkler, a hose, we ripened, ochre dawn and were gone

From Tree Line, Kalamazoo, Michigan: New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2014.