Wall Ode
—for Wayne Dodd

Why Is (and Is Not) was the conversation,
the ethics of attention––a blooming rose gone quiet
     on the mantel, its very trace a path
of least resistance (fragrance), the curves
of the petal (sepal), bursting the smooth
            byways of the philtrum.

Vanish the rose, those Ohio hills, dales as
nouns of rankest green and coal. Vanish, remake
or replace. Things grow where they’ve fallen,
a defined local. Asimina Triloba. It grows
through the soil of what is (and is not) there.

It is (is it not?) bright autumn somewhere
the interior light of flaming maples, ash
(they are on fire), people (they are walking),
a path of moranial ridges as pig iron shuttles
to its car, a fatal attraction of uses
these adjectives abjure. Why, gathering

(what would be species) evidence, do we fail?
Filaments arise —“not the symbol but the scene
this pavement leads / to roadsides—the finite,”
but the conversation wanders, dispersion of fruits
into signs, a slippage touching all the world.

Thicket bane and under story, naming this and this
despite, a fragrance in the vowels, the route of all
accruals. I will think on this as “our tales of wickedness,”
attention a chorus, endogenous vow of words.
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