As If There Were Only One
In the morning God pulled me onto the porch,-Martha Serpas
a rain-washed gray and brilliant shore.
I sat in my orange pajamas and waited.
God said, “Look at the tree.” And I did.
Its leaves were newly yellow and green,
slick and bright, and so alive it hurt
to take the colors in. My pupils grew
hungry and wide against my will.
God said, “Listen to the tree.”
And I did. It said, “Live!”
And it opened itself wider, not with desire,
but the way I imagine a surgeon spreads
the ribs of a patient in distress and rubs
her paralyzed heart, only this tree parted
its own limbs toward the sky—I was the light in that sky.
I reached in to the thick, sweet core
and I lifted it to my mouth and held it there
for a long time until I tasted the word
tree (because I had forgotten its name).
Then I said my own name twice softly.
Augustine said, God loves each of us as if
there were only one of us, but I hadn’t believed him.
And God put me down on the steps with my coffee
and my cigarettes. And, although I still
could not eat nor sleep, that evening
and that morning were my first day back.