The Expatriates

My dear, it was a moment

to clutch for a moment

so that you may believe in it

and believing is the act of love, I think,

even in the telling, wherever it went.



In the false New England forest

where the misplanted Norwegian trees

refused to root, their thick synthetic

roots barging out of the dirt to work on the air,

we held hands and walked on our knees.

Actually, there was no one there.



For fourty years this experimental

woodland grew, shaft by shaft in perfect rows

where its stub branches held and its spokes fell.

It was a place of parallel trees, their lives

filed out in exile where we walked too alien to know

our sameness and how our sameness survives.



Outside of us the village cars followed

the white line we had carefully walked

two nights before toward our single beds.

We lay halfway up an ugly hill and if we fell

it was here in the woods where the woods were caught

in their dying and you held me well.



And now I must dream the forest whole

and your sweet hands, not once as frozen

as those stopped trees, nor ruled, nor pale,

nor leaving mine. Today in my house, I see

our house, its pillars a dim basement of men

holding up their foreign ground for you and me.



My dear, it was a time,

butchered from time

that we must tell of quickly

before we lose the sound of our own

mouths calling mine, mine, mine.

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