Bedtime Story


. . .chestnuts, / oaks, sycamores, all those that stand against the sky.”
“Caterpillar Glory” Lana Orphanides

Long ago, when we could still breathe outside,
their branches—in greens you cannot dream
or imagine—feathered the sky, at times
still, then hushing, rustling, catching the wind,
leaves turning red, gold, brown, before they fell,
then glowing soft pink along filigrees
of black in spring, which used to come between
the hollow, white darkness we call winter
and summer’s wildfires.  But we wanted
more, then more, of everything, so they dried
to dust, gave up on us deep in their cores,
thundered to the earth, tearing up the dead
tangles of their massive roots.  Sleep, now, sleep.
Tomorrow I will tell you about bees.