The BOOKPRESS February 2000

Cities Built Around Branches Built Around Flesh

Thom Ward

Inside this body

Inside this body
old sidewalk buckles, the wind
slings the rain because it can,

strikes the gravel I’ve filched
from playgrounds and hardwoods
beguiled once again into ghosting

their leaves. It’s true,
if not verisimilar, except
those days that privilege

orange pylons, the jack-
hammer driving its snout
into the road. Besides a couple

of succulent approximations,
the paddocks where we put
the extra princes, the acne

on the mannequin, the urn,
most of what continues
will diminish, tangle

or accelerate, even
the Maker in process, half-
naked in His closet and

deliberating over which
cuff links will look best
at the millennium bash.

Cities built around branches
built around flesh, built
with a howl and a yawp.

Like the others I will wait my turn
for the signal, those radiant
pummelings, the gumption to heat

the last crucifix and cauterize
my ambivalence. What’s the plan
if we miss the hors d’oeuvres?

Before the walnuts, the maples,
the locusts, the oaks, the sycamores
go first. How fabulous

you’ve offered to give me,
my friend, the sleekest
and thickest of ropes.

Thom Ward

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