Cathy Song


The man moves earth

The man moves earth
to dispel grief.
He digs holes
the size of cars.
In proportion to what is taken
what is given multiplies —
rain-swollen ponds
and dirt mounds
rooted with flame-tipped flowers.
He carries trees like children
struggling to be set down.
Trees that have lived
out their lives,
he cuts and stacks
like loaves of bread
which he will feed the fire.
The green smoke sweetens
his house.

The Vegetable Air

You’ re clean shaven in this country
where trees grow beards of moss,
where even bank tellers
look a little like banditos
in vests as pungent as sweatsuits.
Still, you prefer the vegetable air
to almost any other place on the map.
After the heart attack,
you considered Paris —
the flying buttresses,
the fractured light of its cathedrals;