The Poet’s Apology

By the window at Perk’s Coffee and Espresso,
sparrows cross from the coffee shop’s eves
to perch in a peach tree which isn’t
a peach tree. It’s only a blossoming peach
long past its time for blossoms, now
nothing more than a thing with leaves.
And I suppose if I were a bird I could find something
in the branches. If I were a beetle, I could chew
on the leaves. Or even a squirrel or worm or moth
or an old shoe tied to a limb by its strings.
But I am not a bird or beetle. I am neither worm
nor squirrel. I am what you are.
Something starving for kindness, a touch
that doesn’t bruise, a pocket with more
than old bank stubs and dust and a dime
not as lucky as we had thought. And what good is any of this?
What use is such uneven pretending? Will you forgive me?
What else can we do? Crawling through dumpsters, sleeping
where cops won’t come, what else can we do
but sidle up to a tree we can’t eat, snap off a bud
or leaf and think — and believe — that this is enough.
That for now, at least for tonight,
this jagged thing is enough.
Enough to grant us sleep for a while,
a kind of foreign sleep,
without fear or hunger or tears.


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