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William D. Waltz

What It Is That Abandons You


There is a triangle

and in the triangle a tree.

The tree calls, the tree waves,

the tree hunches over the children

and whispers in their ears.

They hear not the deep sap traveling

through their sleeping tendrils.


There is a street. It ignores

the boulevards, the thoroughfares,

the tree. It has no mother, no son,

no daughter. It is a street

whose brick dissolves and intersections

clench and unclench at the cross-

walks like memory’s muscle.


There is a square. It is green.

A man has arranged

for four windows to face the tree

and two to gaze upon the mountain.

This is his pledge to her.

After the leaves have fallen

she climbs the tree and pulls him up.


This is her gift to him.

When the fruit drops,

the tree shudders,

the golden triangle roars.



 Please She Said


 Mistaking commands

for requests can make

for happy accidents,

unspoken symbiosis,

if you will. Take a moment

and notice the shrubbery,

the pulse behind your knee,

the plane your sole touches,

the earth. No, I mean

look at the world.

You are in a large diffuse field,

part of the field is dying.

You may be that part.

Elsewhere, exotic quadrant,

black staffs of antennae,

ants shepherd aphids

plump with chartreuse translucence,

honeydew, nectar, elixir of wife.

This is their currency, their contract.

For sweet sustenance provide

shelter for our soft, fragile bodies

for as long as we both shall live

well. She said the arborvitae

means the porch isn’t plumb

and the foundation sunk

long before the time capsule

hemorrhaged in the ticktock of twilight,

and the carpenter will not rise again.

Moths balls, in addition,

planted in the tulip bed

indicate the Bavarian hag

hates rabbits roaming wild

more than the smell of death.

The equations, tell me,

echo like empty rooms

without numbers

and shelter dilated

orphans with them.

Mistake request

for command

and make an enemy

out of love

and the neighbor slowly

denuding maples

in the rain.

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