I haven’t heard the wind this loud for months.
I lay awake thinking that a branch might fall
And crush me, my wife, my car or my neighbor’s
House or kin. I’m sure to hear he wants them trimmed.
As old as me and fifty feet tall, four
Eucalyptus trees live in our yard, surround us
Like a forest, bringing shade and smallness
Comparted to their height. In Australia they
Call them widowmakers, with rhino size
Branches that fall suddenly. You don’t walk
Or picnic beneath them without thinking
On one’s catastrophe, mid-thought, playing
With the dog. They’ve stood for years against
Rain, wind and fire winds, gum joints
That bend with great yielding to the violence of storms.
Still I wait to hear a splinter of wood
Or crash of steel, or the sight of a walkway cradling
A broken limb heavier that a car, and hope
My wandering will take me elsewhere. And also
They break with no warning or wind. They suddenly
Poem and Photograph (titled Fire in Zimbabwe at My Feet) by Lawrence Bridges
Lawrence Bridges is best known for work in the film and literary world. His poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, and The Tampa Review. He has published three volumes of poetry: Horses on Drums, Flip Days, and Brownwood. As a filmmaker, he created a series of literary documentaries for the NEA’s “Big Read” initiative, which include profiles of Ray Bradbury, Amy Tan, Tobias Wolff, and Cynthia Ozick.