In the Arboretum

By Andrew Hudgins

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/01/in-the-arboretum/306599/