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Black Road Over Which Green Trees Grow

ISSUE:  Autumn 1987

A tunnel but the roof is green and some light
breaks through. There’s lots
of oxygen, no worms eat
the leaves or your lungs.
On this road have been coffins in hearses
passing through—not parked or stalled.
On this road: A wedding party, friendships, family
visits, a childhood summer sunk
in hot asphalt; dead pets, the broken
white line a monotonous morse code: help,

help, help. How long this road,
which sidestreets glimpsed, which streetlamps
shattered, mailbox tilted?
On this road: forever-for-sale house, the vacant
lot’s weeds rasping (Were they ever
alive?) halfmasted
by wind. No other car, never,
neither ahead nor behind, no
human—mailman, milkman, child
behind a lemonade stand. No road

signs: Rt. Such and Such, So and So-ville 4 mi.,
X-ton Lions Club Welcomes you—-just
this tunnel road, this chute,
this track driven down in silence
(no radio reception), alone, so many thousand
times and you do
not stop, you do
not die, you just drive out
the other side,
you just drive on out the other side.


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