national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2011

October Grove

Kayla Krut  • 
UC Berkeley

Tasmanian bluegums molt,
peeling back from their trunk-bones,
calcifying up from the soil.

 

To the west, the creek spits and slaps.
Sand on a beach at low tide: that’s how
this bark looks. And decaying
neck-ropes. And the strokes
of Manet’s goldfish, all auburn
and russet, all glaucomic blue.

 

The trunk bases are black wrinkled satin,
or seeping molasses, or elephants’ outsides.
The bone bases sag with fine paper-white shavings.

 

Meet me here in five minutes,
somebody has carved in the bluegum bone.

 

Predictably, bay laurels burst
from the weaknesses of rooted trees,
and do well there. Blackbirds twitch and hop,
clearing the midnight from their throats,
milky resin staining their beaks.

 

Rain begins to fall. The tree bones creak.
October now is not so warmly colored,
nor hung so much like lace from the morning canopies.