To Escape by Tree
Joe Bueter

To Escape by Tree

In an unknown hospital room, she spins the world’s tangents
by rotating her wrist. Pain measures life slowly—the widening
of an angel’s wings to the walls, carillon playing.
Much of harm and healing passes through our wrists, which she
knows and remembers. Somehow it could be the origin
of all her memories: the forge to remember from.

She was born into the milk-dipped hands of dairy farmers,
their flexors dropping by infinitesimal degrees with her weight,
into a name that heard quietly sounds like an invocation to calm the heart.

At the nurse’s request, she turns the bolted cuff of bone over,
and also turns her head. The pine out the window couldn’t look
more like a ladder. Bigger branches go down to clay and cone,

where the spring drought is her ancestors’ problem. 
She tells them about it, but speaks into the live nurse’s sternum,
a microphone of bone that projects nothing.

Joe Bueter

lives and writes in central Pennsylvania. His poetry has been published in Confrontation, Southern Humanities Review, Nashville Review, Vassar Review, Cave Wall, and other journals.