I wake and once again the trees have come the trees

have once again grown through me in sleep a tiny forest

tiny tangled copse come to populate all the windswept

all the empty spaces dendritic roots curl around cells

as if around stones and the furling tender leaves their

hungry wait for light and now the trees fill with birds

whose wings I feel as faint capillary flutter whose songs

rustle in the blood autumn now and the leaves loosen

begin their fall the tiny spiders move in set about their

careful work stitching leaves back to branches mending

the quilted sky the geese travel over and in the woods

the mist descends everything is indistinct bleached and

pale the mist tastes in the muscles the throat like a chill

when the mist dissipates it takes everything with it

branches leaves spiders their sticky useless sutures

even the trees are gone the spaces full of snow and now

the snow too is gone the spaces are meadows again

are empty again and now this is who is what I am

Leslie Harrison


Leslie Harrison’s second book, The Book of Endings (U of Akron, 2017) was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her first book, Displacement (HarperCollins 2009) won the Bakeless Prize in poetry from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Her third book, Reck, arrives in March of 2023 from the University of Akron Press.

A former photojournalist, book designer and publishing manager, Harrison was awarded a fellowship in literature from The National Endowment for the Arts in 2011. She has also held the Philip Roth residency in poetry at Bucknell University.