Ann Arbor Review


Geoffrey Philip
Joseph McNair
Chris Lord
Coleman Barks
Dave Etter
Elisavietta Ritchie
Sam Cornish
Duane Locke
Karyn Wolven
Marisella Veiga
Michael D. Long
Running Cub
Joanie Freeman
Alan Britt
Shutta Crum
Steve Beaulieu
Gerald Clark
Mary E. Finlan
Fred Wolven


This morning as I wandered through my meditation
of sky & clouds
an old man with worn, weathered skin
walked along with a small child
a tree branch filled with bright green leaves
held lightly in her hand

& I recalled the afternoon
that you & I plodded through a Michigan cemetery
searching for Roethke, in vain
you needing to sift through dirt & overgrowth
to feel, somehow, his greenhouse hermitage
that place where his large, cumbersome hands
prodded the earth, forced tiny shoots up from their darkness
& me consumed with the silence in your eyes
watching you bend down to brush away one leaf,
then another, you moving as if a shadow
around the square patches of cement
like one of the small creatures that hunk of a man
so delicately mused into a poem

I could not have known then or understood
how roots appear, thin wisps almost invisible
leaning into the slow, pulsating movement of the earth
pushing, pulling, yet each moment a painful struggle
a rhythm so close to death one dare not breathe too closely, too far away

& so I remained where it was possible
like you, wandering through words & phrases
each year offering some small piece of a cutting, a poem
for this man who waltzed his way across the greenhouse floor
& gave back life to that which might have never survived if untended

& looking, so closely now, into this earth where the veins of small stems
suck water from spring rain, bulge against hard ground
I wonder if you can still search old notebooks for words
once saved, as Roethke there nudging roots & nubs
knowing, as I do now, nothing gives up life

Karyn Wolven

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