The Judas Tree

I cling to the old words I often cannot find
Times were, I raged
paced up and down the stories of this house
tipped my head to hear
mouse-tongued songs murmuring from floorboards
only to race away too soon
through passive vents and the holes I failed to patch

I strain to reach a pitch I cannot hold
Like the songs from tented desert shrines
ancient Mihskin temples with goat hair walls
where verses aligned with sacred smoke
kibbitzed in the plumes and
were lost to potent crackling limbs
the last of dew choked from the Judas Tree.

I long for names I often cannot call
It is not that these are forbidden
nor even affirm some unnamed gods
nor disclose a secret well
nor map to epic stories of diverging plains

With this same fever, I fell exhausted in the garden bed
the one I forgot to cultivate this year
I dreamed of all the things that perish unnoticed
a bristle backed drifter that curled beneath my spine
green cowlicks tangled in the maidenhair
a scrap of pelt the splintered border snagged

My loose and dreaming mind
flirted freely with the unsigned world
I babbled out the names I will soon forget
but knew each entity was owed.

Published: Texas Poetry Assignment, 2022, Laurence Musgrove, Editor