Clearing
Pudding Magazine #59

I didn’t expect to arrive to see a dozer
straining against the great tree. If instead
a woman had been pushed from the roof
of a ten-story building, her hair
would have lifted and flown above her just like
the long dark needles of pine that sprang up
as if grasping for receding sky
that a moment ago was fixed in place,
and her arms would have flailed, attempting
to tread the air while she sank
just like the broad limbs that swayed
helplessly up and down. Her sleeves,
her skirts, would have flapped
and snapped like sails in the rushing wind.
There would have been that shattering crack,
the ponderous shudder
after the birds’ frantic scatter,
the awful silence, and when I looked up,
the bright void where something dense
and breathing had been and had taken
my own breath in its leaving. There would
have been that same moment of vertigo,
of confusion, of sickness, the same – except
no knowing that in a hundred years
another such one could replace her.


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The Schuylkill Valley Journal publishes poetry, short stories and critical essays. Both the SVJ and SVJ LIT come out twice a year, in the spring and in the fall.
Schuylkill Valley Journal


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