Doubled. Branching into leafy slither, 
                                                        loose green shingles 
                        dangling, the elongated
              closed eyes of catalpa pods twin winks
                                                                      in the laced, windy flutter
                                          of thin hairstrings,
                            with nerves for fingers tangling, un-

in these avocado labyrinths, 
                                     swooping everywhere emblematic
                    Eiffel Tower-Notre Dame cross coded 
                                          human Signifier in its sealed
                                             airless capsule wheeling through astro space
   in every bedroom, with all those voices in it,
                            television on all day,
                                          honeyed mutterings from the love tube —

       could such a tree be weeping?

With each season's amber
                            saps eaten away by dissent's 
                     munching caterpillars, by desire's chipped 
              red nail polish, the five o'clock shadow
                                   sadness leaves on faces shaving themselves
       for love, for the tree itself, well

when they were out walking. His lips
                            like rain opening hers up.
                                                        Her hands tucking
       his intelligence around them, 
                            the scratchy bark, the tenderness of it
                                          and the welcome: even the uneasy
              limbs creaking, swirled in the blowing
                                                 white noon of his knife-edged
                                   brilliant joy —

Or later; cool foliage at twilight,
                                          protector from so many sly
                            flashy streams trickling their mean
                                                        undermotifs through the needled
                            forest floor —

and frog also. Croaker, growler,
                            clear penetrating triller
              in cranberry bogs, in acid-sweet wetlands, lush
       percolating grounds for others to grow in, the old story
                     of royalty come to life, O short prince,

                                                 soul-doctor handing out new, smarter
                                                           castles for everyone to live in —

and she could have been, was
                                          a cool pond, lovely for him to swim in —

so small he was, so hidden. To be so
                       tight pine cone, with brisk
                                          clipped syllables. Giraffe's
       delicate smile radiant
              as the chewed leaves on its cheeks

among blueberries, New England
                            granite, even Civilization
       and Its Discontents couldn't bury him

nor God either, even the Idea of Him, disappearing
                            intermittent Star trembling
              at the far end of binoculars whose distant
blurred image he bowed to

in rapt silence, but focused on what was closest to him:
                            antic, frog-hopping up to friends at their most
                            agonized, burning howls in the night,
                                          with fine cardiac surgeon
                        gloved fingers he probed for it,

the sullen, never-let-go
                            splayed web-foot root, the delicious secret
       control panel of each pain, then pulleyed it
              up to the top branches and loosened it, set it free
                     to jetstream wherever it wanted to but he —

* * * * * * 

Why didn't he go too? She never knew
                     for certain; because once she'd picked up his crackling
                     distress signal and greeted it
              like her other half, that sadness
                                          that was never to be understood
                                   in his lifetime except

what could she do, what could anyone do
                     but follow, hoping to soothe but how? Over her head
                                   in those electric waters
                     like a starved suckerfish, selfish
                                         with dazzled eyes admiring
                            she glued herself on for the ride

the minute they met, in a dream
                            of unstitchable seamlessness they sank
              into each other like a single rowboat
                                   for life; like twins grafted together
                                          in all the right spots and joyful: two spinning tops
                         in gale force winds shaken,
                                   whirling firebirds dashing
              barefoot over coals almost choked,
                                   white-limbed but alive, almost Whole,
Accounted for. And to.

* * * * * *

But there were too many brothers
                            always. And he the smallest in the nest, the goat
       trampled upon by crows
                                   jostling. Crowding out all the flyways
                                              he knew but could not use —

Because he was mired in it, paralyzed
                     by too much light,
       stuck in the deepening furrows of the one mind
                                   he could not heal,
                     though at least he saw himself
                                                (saw all of us) clearly —

                                          What did they do to him,who was here
only a moment ago, in his bright palace fighting
                           for everyone else, she cries out
       like an ice-storm in the emptiness they agreed
              couldn't be helped, his breath being her breath being both
           and v.v., under the sere rattlings of Science and now God's
                     rusted leaves scattering down,
                                          the permanence of nothing
                     except themselves, for awhile —

but stuck all over with his needles, electrodes from a past
                            that stabbed both of them,
              under the chromium flakes falling
                                   on chill swamps, on crabbed, daily orchards
                            dressing and then undressing,

though he still shone for her, polished himself for her
                                          with the glow of an apple, or an egg
                            and she adored him, hurtled her arms around him
                     like ivy that holds up old buildings
       until, sometimes, he relaxed
                            into the embrace of it, the brief room
                     they made for themselves to live in,
for all the self-knowledge he showered
                                          on both of them, but her mostly —
              "Here, let me release these
                            scrawny, hooked-together-hyphens for you —"
                     he never let go himself.

At the end, still trying to get out of them,
                                   the locked teeth of cells he could not escape,
                     he gave himself away to no one, not even her
       whom he loved, whom he shouldered up to the tippy, green
                            topmost canopy, where she almost broke through
                     only to lean over, yearn down to him
                                   who stayed below, who powered up
              everyone's lives but his own —

But after the last rattle
                            of wild breathlessness, leaves gasping overhead
                                   though she kept after him, whispering,
                            magnifying him even as he dwindled,
                                                               quiet as dirt, as water
                            eaten to bone and thinner, 
       as first light seeps across deserts

finally he sat still, in his chair
                     out on the front porch, with civilization
                                          after ignorant civilization passing,
              with wrecked dynamos and cathedrals,
                                   in the toppled infrastructure of uprooted
                            giant trees short-circuited, the wiring rusted away
                                                 in the undergrowth, monumental
                     as stone, with an emperor's thin lips
                                   still smiling at her, hands fallen open
                                in his lap, holding on
                     to nothing now, simply looking up
                                                                             and out.