5/17/2005

After I Die

I'm looking forward to seeing Kate Trueblood and Nancy Pagh this week at the YWCA. I'm not familiar with Nancy's work, but found this at the Bellingham Review site. I quite like it, very NW'ty. And I agree...madrona is best.

After I Die
By: Nancy Pagh

My grandmother's pear or Italian plum
would be comfortable and sweet
but too domestic. I need
a wild tree. Cedar is my favorite trunk
but close-branched;
in cedar I can't see the sky.
Dreamy blossomed dogwood
are too slender for this purpose.
Douglas fir are tall enough and warm
in winter, but I have never felt at home
in a fir. After I die
take me to a madrona.

Choose one red-boled, round-hipped
and open at the shoulders.
Wear pants good for climbing and
bring a few lengths of cord.
Help each other help me
up through the branches,
through rubbery leaves or dry ones,
and tie me supine toward the sky:
I don't want to fall in the first wind.
There are laws against this sort of thing
so choose a place far enough out
that you can't find it again.

After I die the softest places
will come unstitched
and even bitter secrets I kept in my belly
will sound raucous
in the mouths of crows.
Curling red bark of madrona
pulls back from the limbs each summer
and I'll peel too, unwinding from bone.
In rainstorms, hard white pieces,
knuckles and ribs, will drop from branches
through wet green salal. The best part
is being allowed to scatter.

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