Being There

They plant trees for dead undergraduates,
a make-up bid for permanence

on this earth. Maybe they will outlast
the tossed ashes of the timely

dead: us, unconfined to a coffin,
when the time comes. That is, if it

is a good tree. I, though,
wish I were a tern, unresigned

to slow osmosis because I maybe
didn't exist already, was mistaken

for a gull, or never emerged to human eye
from the pelagic fog. Imagine them

making playful geometric circles
over some lost coordinates of the Atlantic,

where ships go down. In all trouble,
they play no part. They were never there.

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