It was good to fill the sinkhole myself after the landscaper
botched the job. Beneath the plant he poised, thirsty
on red clay—divots of emptiness. Ten bags of top soil go in
smelling of the deciduous north, released
from bags hugging dirt like a girdle.
I want to throw in my worn underwear,
mover’s boxes, insurance adjusters wearing
their snide smiles. I want to throw in the site
of trauma, but here it is as I tap the spade down – the gap
the massive oak left and how it will open
every year—unhinging its jaws.
I used to listen to the tree’s elocutions: its deep
drinking, its network of mouths—
felt the mastery of its anomalous hide.
I heard its power, wind in its canopy indigent. After
the tree went down—scavenger dawns,
my rapacious need for touch, pretending
I liked it, saying really it’s okay,
when he pulled out. But it wasn’t.
The way he turned me face-down in the middle
of the night, used his wrestler’s move:
his left knee on the back of my left knee, pinning
me until he was satisfied. It was
a happen. A thing. A toy
called nothingness. You can’t
always get what you want. I dream the familials
signaling underground to let the tree go.
The new oaks and the ancients. All that
subterraneous asking, and the polite refusals.
Weakened by hurricane, weakened
by every sonic storm, the rape of the last century,
the rape of this one. Released finally—
the earth opening, the thudding fall.