Denis Johnson

Denis Johnson
Denis Johnson 1949-2017

Friday, August 15, 2014

Here's to Rebecca Seiferle, poetry at the stops of the Tucson Streetcar, and sweet monsoon rain!



Jatropha cardiophylla
Limberbush

I must have passed by a hundred times and not noticed
these spindly twigs, drought and cold deciduous,
among the desert's scraggle… so what
if I know baskets were made by the Seri people
the splints sewn into a star
the blood color of these branches
or that Jatropha cardiophylla lives in colonies
spread by underground runners and that its sap
stains the fingers red or that it bears a single female flower,
a three seeded fruit? Knowledge
is not the encounter with the thing itself,
so at the margins of the the monsoon season,
caught in a basket of words,
I am stuck on the limberbush, searching
for its white to pale yellow blooms, to see
knowingly this one small life
like all the nondescript small creatures,
including human beings
that the eyes have to open to find, so
I can bow to it and acknowledge
its small loves opening the shining
heart-shaped leaves with their crenellated margins
and red petioles . . .how radiant
is the ordinary, overlooked, the never-seen
when branches that seem dead or stricken
leaf and flower in the rain.


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