March 2024

Back to Issue 15

Dismantling the Tree

By Stephen Mead


Love is the oceanic being of tides beating,

of returning forget-me-nots bringing seasons round,

& us into the light as we, after the holiday, rewind these dim

fireflies & place back agleam balls in sturdy hives of boxes

beside bags marked:  next year’s lot.


For days after tinsel’s continuance pops up on rugs,

hair, sleeves as magnetic ribbons, as reminding strands

for the country that lives in pine scents, needles, Achilles’

to the broom & testament to what chamber

whose brilliance was the Christmas star.


We too, sea poems in a wilderness of nostalgia, of promises,

we too are such loans true as books passed around,

as clothes borrowing permanency, as watercolor collages

for a black road right through snow…


Driving into your dream to forget my own as you enter mine

& likewise find the same limbs to undo,

the same avenues for mileage between present & past

in accessories, in garments, we swim in the sky’s current

gull-shaped as flung socks, the wind urging climb up,

find further branches, turn this leaf, that fruit,

pluck, re-seed trunk to trunk, this knowing tree grown

out of death’s cycles by touch.