The Climbing Vine

the structure’s joints creaked / and the muscles stood out in the nails

Photo of poet Karen Solie

From rocky soil it came
from next to nothing
stretched on the rack of its genome

the pain of its talent running through it
embracing the legs of the decking for comfort

unidentified        no immediate family
exiled from the chatter of annual plantings
not much in common with the cavalier flowering perennials

even the sun said        Whoever you are
I am not made of money

everything it owned strapped to its body
arm over arm in its wet clothes
it hauled itself to the second-floor balcony

       and where it spread out        redistributed its weight
like a traveller on a platform.

the structure’s joints creaked
and the muscles stood out in the nails

had they let it        it would have scaled the house
to stand on the roof where God might notice
what had been accomplished in his absence

would have torn the house down and stood on the ruin
       tossing its hook at the downspout of heaven

they pruned it        its strength of conviction redoubled
cut it back to the trunk
a litter of tendrils wobbled out

razed it to the ground        a shoot appeared
like a prisoner through a manhole
they had to eradicate it at the level of the idea

but here

Karen Solie
Karen Solie is the author of five collections of poetry. Her most recent, The Caiplie Caves, was published in 2019 and shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize.

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