From rocky soil it came

from next to nothing

stretched on the rack of its genome

the pain of its talent running through it

embracing the legs of the decking for comfort

unidentified        no immediate family

exiled from the chatter of annual plantings

not much in common with the cavalier flowering perennials

even the sun said        Whoever you are

I am not made of money

everything it owned strapped to its body

arm over arm in its wet clothes

it hauled itself to the second-floor balcony

       and where it spread out        redistributed its weight

like a traveller on a platform.

the structure’s joints creaked

and the muscles stood out in the nails

had they let it        it would have scaled the house

to stand on the roof where God might notice

what had been accomplished in his absence

would have torn the house down and stood on the ruin

       tossing its hook at the downspout of heaven

they pruned it        its strength of conviction redoubled

cut it back to the trunk

a litter of tendrils wobbled out

razed it to the ground        a shoot appeared

like a prisoner through a manhole

they had to eradicate it at the level of the idea

but here

Karen Solie

Karen Solie is the author of five collections of poetry. Her most recent, The Caiplie Caves, was published in 2019 and shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize.

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