The Rhythm of Things


The cypress trees in Italy are slow

metronomes keeping time with the

wind—reaching for the hand of a new

lover, always retreating back to proper

posture. Backward steps. Repeat.


Two weeks—travelers tattooed

by different guns, with the same ink.

The decay of life—inverted.

Here, flesh comes after bone.

The olive trees have started to blossom.


The mulberry tree, solid in the image of Ovid,

warning about suicide by consumption,

does not waver. The berries move with wind,

but they do not dance. Not at all

flexible bones, their view of Umbria


remains. After 104 bombings in Terni,

alone in one year—the trees on the hillside

sacrifice for their roots. But that cypress

in the wind, what a blessing, depending,

to see an extra four feet


in either direction.


Read more about Elizabeth Agans


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