Elaine Sexton

Copper Beech
December 19, 2016 Sexton Elaine

Copper Beech


Because it had been, quite literally,
four decades since I last climbed a tree
I stood a long while watching you
overhead. Your elbows disappeared
in the sheets of plum-colored leaves,
so dark and cool in the heat. I pressed
my face against the bark, I patted
your dog’s snout – lost – my body touching
the idea of leaving earth. I wrapped
my arms around a trunk wider than
my own, growth and decay in my mouth.
I kissed the twins, fear and ecstasy,
my feet, by now, where my shoulders
once were. My fingers reached
for the sole of your shoe. A blanket of
green held me in its arms, the backs
of those leaves I had seen from the ground.

Elaine Sexton is the author of Sleuth(New Issues, 2003). Her poems, reviews, essays, and art criticism have appeared in American Poetry Review, ARTnews, Art New England, Prairie Schooner, Poetry, River Styx, New Letters, the Writer’s Chronicle (AWP), and numerous other journals. She teaches a poetry workshop at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, works in magazine publishing, and lives in New York City.