The Branch Won’t Survive
Aspen catkins Shirley Temple curls are new,
I guess, this delayed spring, dangling sere and old
over water, and broken maple branches hang down,
still red and budding. A petal slides back
like the hatch of a spacecraft. Bunched
inside are hairs, the control center, living
quarters for the crew, a docking station.
The ducks are back. Faded ruddies
tip over and vanish. I unfocus my gaze. They resurface
somewhere else. The module will fall away,
burning on reentry, leaving only a cone
bobbing in the water. The branch that won’t
survive will offer bristly pink halos
that flame in cold rain.
Horseshoe Crab Mother’s Day
Upside down horseshoe crabs, empty,
and one old battleship still perhaps equipped
to move ahead, smoothing the ruffles of
her German submarine as she prepares
to go into her routine, unfortunately chunky
and trying too hard to be a princess.
Redknots plump with her little green eggs
fly on toward the Arctic to breed and
she has already left her double tread
in the sand and waited at the edge
for the higher wave that will lift her
back from labor into grace. Now
her transparent thumbnail-sized young
flip in the shallows, sea butterflies
or clowns, little figure skaters.
Hunching at the line where the ice
gets thicker, the heron has to strike
through a thin skin, telling a story
again, patches of shadow fading
from the bare trunks. Sun gone again.
Everyone’s trying to teach you, in vain,
how to become a successful person.
Is a rhetorical question an appropriate
device for a poem, or a cheap trick?
Winter grass is lumpy and frozen,
dead leaves stuck to it. The enso’s
not a perfect circle, thin where it begins,
full where it ends. When you are hearing
the wind moan around the house
surprisingly loud, the treetops wave,
because it is motion, the enso–
brush tip meets paper, the hand moves,
trails of pressure and paint
appear. Gesture returns to the place
it began, like a cat curling into a ball.
Molly Weigel is a poet and translator living in central New Jersey near the Delaware River. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Volta, Fringe, MiPoesias, and Verse Wisconsin. Her translation of Jorge Santiago Perednik’s “The Shock of the Lenders” won the 2013 PEN Poetry in Translation Award and her translation of Oliverio Girondo’s “In the Moremarrow” was shortlisted for the 2014 BTBA Award for poetry (both published by Action Books). She is also a therapist specializing in trauma work.