The Arboretum

Erin Snyder

A woman in a burgundy trench coat,
felted black hat, feather topped,
harboring a thick Boston accent
meets you on the Linden Path.
Because you look her in the eye
she asks you if you pray, if you feel
a presence in your heart.
She hasn’t been here in a while, calls it
beautiful, this desolate December nursery
bare-limbed, all skeleton bark, residual
sinew-sap, endless blanket of leaves upon
the ground, a carpet of photosynthesized thought.
This is what Winter is made for, warming yourself
under the world’s collective meditations,
soaking them up through the sponge of your soles,
storing them in your fatty reserves,
the secret hollows of your hips, your
thighs, the soft pillow of your breast until
that first day of Spring when your bones thaw.
Admittedly you do not pray, but you
sense a presence in your heart, you
send your thoughts into the world and
hope that destination unknown, carried
on a directionless breeze, they settle
on a grove and sink into the soul of
someone, somewhere, who might
believe them to be God.