POETRY The Streets of Detroit were Lined with Elms ... Marge PIERCY
“The Streets of Detroit were Lined with Elms”
From The Crooked Inheritance (2006)
I remember elm trees that were
the thing of beauty on grimy
smoke-bleared streets stinking of death
and garbage, but over the cramped
rotting houses, the elms arched.
They were cities of leaves.
I would lie under them
and my eyes would rise
buoyed up and surfeited
in immense rustling viridescence.
They enclosed me like a cathedral.
I entered them as into the heart
of a sanctuary in a mountain
pure and vast and safe.
I wanted to live in their boughs.
They gave no fruit, no nuts
and their fall color was weak,
but their embrace was strong.
I would stare at them, how
their powerful trunks burst
out of the dirt fully formed
and graceful, how they rushed
toward the sky and then halted
to spread out in a firmament
of green, of green, of green.