do the neighbors
up the street
think me
for going a few times
a day
to stand under their
for looking up under it
at the pink and blue
at the birds that swim through
at the psychedelic-surge of colors
and worlds
that emerge from standing there
and smelling it
these flowers
this life
in a tree…the sheer orgasmic

of walking to this place
(who decides its sacredness?)
of standing under a neighbor’s tree —
then punctuated, punctured by a sound
i hear the neighbor say ‘Jesus’
as i arrive
and maybe he’s praying
celebrating my arrival
maybe offering his worship too
maybe he too is moved
by the tree
that hovers out
over the sidewalk,
out into the now-quiet street
especially when it blooms
maybe he went to church
to show his trust in Jesus-saves
risked the bugs that he could get, could share
in a pandemic
that too often kills
no matter how faithful, faithless

i stand under the tree
wait awhile
‘must i really go home
when its splendor only lasts
a few weeks, only hours if there’s
frost or a cold night?’

so I stand
I stay
and hear Jesus say,
‘what the hell you doing standing there —
go home
go inside yourself
and find the tree…
the scent is just as lovely’

and profound


— Brian Shircliff