In the Arboretum

As a lowering snowstorm
silk-screened the arboretum
into a gauzy tomb
around an ecosystem
of stalled summer in late autumn
(a terrarium’s hot sanctum
inside a snow globe), steam
vagued the coin-pocked stream,
another closed system,
and I slid along the stem
of a tropical leaf a thumb
still frigid, slow to accustom
myself to the wispy steam
drifting like a phantom
through the rich spectrum
of greenery, each item
doomed outside the sanctum,
where alien yet tame
verdure thrives because it’s tame.
Inside: one desideratum.
Outside, let’s imagine: time
and the obscuring storm.
In a breath or two, I’ll join them,
fingering a green stem,
a pinched and withering victim
that is, a card states, false thyme.

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Andrew Hudgins's most recent book of poems is Ecstatic in the Poison (2003). He teaches at Ohio State University.

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