Banana Trees

The end of May returns to my mind a poem about a strangely magical summer place I once visited. And, well, about magic, I consider what it might be, what it means to some, and then to others. Is it a fiction in someone’s mind? Is it in the forces of nature we’ll never understand, and never need to understand? When a place, or a taste, or a feeling is magical, it is transformative. Is that what magic really is? But then, science, too, is transformative, as is art. Maybe it is all a kind of magic. Maybe, in the end, I don’t care what it is. Or isn’t. As long as it is not for harm, but rather, for wonder.

 

Banana Trees

when you cross the road

and climb a tree

to catch a signal

to retrieve a text

from a lady on a committee

who has a question

which needs an answer

before the committee reconvenes next Wednesday

you can see the new, docile bees

learning their way in and out

of the small white hive

with the sugar water feeder on the side

 

though the tree is high

and the hive is small

and the bees even smaller

and one could question with good reason

how much of that world of bees

you can really perceive from such a vantage point

it is also true

that you have seen that little, growing universe

through the lens of your camera

and once there

(and later, in your eye itself)

your forever telescope can see

whatever it needs

or wants

or hopes

 

or maybe

while you wait for the signal

what you see

from the bark-covered branch

across the road

from the house you share

with the okra seed pods

grown in the field on the opposite side

of the signal tree

is the tiniest pear

beginning to expand and ripen

 

or the mist on the field

just before the round earth house

which some might say

through the side of their teeth

was a failure to gather

heat

and others,

through the straight, round opening of their mouths,

a magical interpretation

of a river snail

or a gathering of earth

and the pulse of your bare hands

remaining

though so long left alone there

at the edge of woods beyond the unmowed grasses

 

maybe what you see

once the text message has been retrieved

from the urgent world away from you

and absorbed and acknowledged

is the groundhog in the garden

or the muddy puppy

bearing yet another turtle

to leave for you

on the porch

just beyond the banana trees

that could tip off

the rest of the people in the world

that here there is a kind of magic

which makes bananas seem to grow

thousands of miles away

from the tropics,

thousands of miles away

from their native soil

a kind of magic

soaked permanently

into your very earth,

the same earth which holds

everything buried

by the new puppy

everything buried

long before you came.

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