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.