Amy Clampitt

(15 June 1920 - 10 September 1994 / New Providence, Iowa)

A Catalpa Tree On West Twelfth Street


While the sun stops, or
seems to, to define a term
for the indeterminable,
the human aspect, here
in the West Village, spindles
to a mutilated dazzle—

niched shards of solitude
embedded in these brownstone
walkups such that the Hudson
at the foot of Twelfth Street
might be a thing that's
done with mirrors: definition

by deracination—grunge,
hip-hop, Chinese takeout,
co-ops—while the globe's
elixir caters, year by year,
to the resurgence of this
climbing tentpole, frilled and stippled

yet again with bloom
to greet the solstice:
What year was it it over-
took the fire escape? The
roof's its next objective.
Will posterity (if there

is any) pause to regret
such layerings of shade,
their cadenced crests' trans-
valuation of decay, the dust
and perfume of an all
too terminable process?

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003
Edited: Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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