View from

Cicada Season

(Photograph by Ian Hutchinson)

“Wire/protects the beech/from bladed lovers/initial-besotted for years,/each letter a small death.”

and the arborist is in love

with a weeping beech


pulling tulle taut

around its curved trunk


nymph-proofing its silver

scarred bark with netting;


is in love with bolts

of fabric riding backseat


in a motorized wagon

driven by the apprentice


gardener. Call him young,

call him old, call mothers


lethal, burying their eggs

in the cambium. Wire


protects the beech

from bladed lovers


initial-besotted for years,

each letter a small death.


The arborist waits to breathe

when the apprentice snags


tulle on the steel mesh,

catches the cloth


on its tiny hexagonal

gaps; waits to gasp


as a green-winged lyric

crawls where she wants to.


JoAnna Novak’s fourth book of poetry, Domestirexia, is forthcoming from Soft Skull. The author of three books of prose, her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Paris Review, and other publications.

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