In the night my great swamp-willow fell.
I had run home early, dark by five,
To find the young sphinx and the hearth swept bare
By the lazy thrashing of her tail.
A scraping on my window woke me late.
Circling those roots aghast in air
I asked of wind, of rottenness the cause,
As yet unaware of having forgotten
Her yellow gaze unwinking, vertical pupil,
Stiff wing, dark nipple, firelit paws-
All that the odor of my palm brings back
Hiding my face, beside the boughs
Whose tall believed exuberance fallen,
Bug goes witless, liquors lack,
Profusion riddled to its core of dream
Dies, whispering names.
She only from the dead flames rose,
Had licked my fingers but sweet milk disdained.
Henceforth, bareness extreme,
No more this hand has branchings of a tree.