The Crabapple Casts a Shadow Angel

by Rennie Ament

Tree with the matted hair
who says, I love you,
thank you. Tree on a strip
of Route 1 washed by light
rain, are you out to cure
anxiety by osmosis, slow
deep breaths of oxygen
into the leaf? Lovely. But,
for me to believe in shelter
or any kind of blanket like
a small girl? Think not. Spit
straight down your throat
if you try that move. I put
on the glamour robe and
go live in town sometimes.
Hello, I call, hello—like this.
And folks like that. It’s easy
to stand at a crossroad
with one leg out—it’s conventional
phrasing. Soft
rain stars the ankles while
under my pleather purse
bugs dig the grit and I sell
tote bags made of soda can
tabs since there’s always
a makeshift economy, says
the little copper-cast girl
in my brain. I do not pity
her, nor spit up any blood
at night rethinking my father.
What is it to you, what I do
in traffic? Tantrums and
random shots of birthday
cake on napkins—nothing
un-American under this skull,
nothing so faithfully forgotten
as what they wanted
me to believe. On the phone
with Ma at lunch I’ll say,
There have been three blue
Dodge Durangos this AM
or I’m sorry about my choice
of profession: bored self
glistening like stone by creek,
mostly immune to some
rabbit’s foot on a keychain
dyed bright pink. I have been
listening both up and down
to the bird circling matter,
the mattress thumping against
the car roof as wind rips
it back—it’s fine. I’m programmed
to be fine like this,
like trees grow for low heaven.