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.