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Clade Song 4

Dark-eyed Junco (A Bird Call)
Redwoods grow up in shoots, from burls, from trees that have fallen
                                                           sing only in low tones
                                                sort sea shells from tea cups

my father’s planning his funeral
looking up how much it will cost
Maya says, good
I say, but he thinks he’s going to die
she says, he is going to die
                             a collector of sand dollars, a writer of paper letters                             my pile will not pile up

these shoots are second-growth trees
the old ones were taken down
when it was unimaginable that we would ever run out
when the forest was a vast, deep force
a place you could walk into
and not make it back

bird call, what say you?
                                                                                   keep singing             

                                    and that crazy lady will put out her seeds
                                                keep singing and the clouds will break
                                                    keep singing so I can find you
daylight will show me your hiding places
they are not ponderosa, not jefferson pine, they are redwoods
but by then, you’ll be gone

Judy Halebsky's book, Sky=Empty, won the New Issues Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the California Book Award. Her chapbook, Space/Gap/Interval/Distance won the Poets-Under-Forty award from Sixteen Rivers Press. On a fellowship from the Japanese Ministry of Culture, she trained in Noh theatre and Butoh dance in Japan for five years. The MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony, and the Canada Council for the Arts have supported her work. Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, she now lives in Oakland.