Michele Leavitt
May 2015


The Hemlock Stand


Good luck stands tall around me, doesn’t need

to speak about its perfect confluence

of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen,


or chance molecular encounters sculpting

bark in channels, genetic drift extruding

horizontal limbs where warblers sing.


Good luck in the shape of a hemlock.

That’s why my mind rejects calamity’s

advance, though forests wither south of us


as sucking insects satiate their hunger

between the hemlock needles

(something like mammalian follicles


and lice, but often fatal). In shivering April

mornings, here in the North, the hemlocks

are just waking under tiny winkings of ice-dew,


under the pileated tattoo swooping from single trees

to companions leaning in the miracle of fusion, the first

memory any of us have, and why we can’t unmake our kinship.