A lucky elm, one in a hundred thousand,
survives, grandeur saved by chance,
that slovenly god. A plant geneticist
drove five hundred miles to stand
in its shadow. He touches its bark
with a sunburned hand. Near him,
a bicycle’s ruined spokes, crazed arms
and legs, partake of the human,
everyone’s flagrant wreckedness.
Beetles feed in twig crotches,
spreading death. Double toothed
leaves brown, curl, drop, young trees
first, then the old ones. My taste
for the partial makes me want
quarrels, departures, the sun
as it stoops, stops, closes
the glory-hole, drops into haze.
I want the geneticist to step
toward me. I want him to find—
amazed—another remnant elm.