Poem to read slowly (Alberto Ríos).

In My Hurry

The curious lavender attentions to itself of the jacaranda
Stopped me, as through the leaves and small avenues

In late summer I made my way in love toward you.
The tree’s flowering was an intimacy I had not earned,

A color of undergarment or something from the better
Pages in the book already underlined by classmates.

It was lavender or lilac, something from the hundred blues,
This color without rank and without help, standing there,

Giving me the gift over and over again but high up, outside
My reach, which made my desire to touch it all the more.

The color and the tree, the moment and the lateness of the season,
They joined in a gang of what I could see was a tangle of sinew,

So much muscle in search of the cover-skin of an arm,
The tree itself seeming all at once an arm unleashed,

Strength itself gone wild in its parts to the sky.
This was an arm that had stopped me—

How could I not have seen it? This tree was an arm
And more than an arm, its muscle strung in everything

So that the tree—everything about it—the tree
Made itself of arm and leg, leg and neck, at angles,

At stops and starts and in bends, everything broken,
Everything but the lavender, which was flower,

So much lavender coming from what was left, what must be
A mouth, a thousand mouths, at once speaking

The lavender or the lilac, the blue, understood language.
These were match-tipped words asking the impossible of me,

Whatever I imagined the impossible to be: a bowl of cherries
In winter, or that I might come again by this place and stop.

Absent of reason, I could agree to anything addressing a tree.
The cherries were not much, I know, but what they meant,

Born of this exotic, all lavender and muscle, held me.
It was an equal and other necessity, calling to me in my hurry.

It was a tree in wild color calling to a tree in wild color,
And the lavender, I think you know what the lavender is.

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