Here past the edge of town,
this one as well as any other
Adirondacks, the trees lock arms
and lean into each other like
at a family reunion.
This is some history; listen to the names,
Maple, Black Spruce, Wild Cherry,
Sweet Birch, the old White Oaks. On
on into the hillsides until my tongue rolls
and I whisper Ohio,
imagining this is what it was
one hundred years ago, imagining this is
whispered in the ear of Tecumseh, who fought for it
for twenty years,
knowing when he started he couldn't
win, but who fought and lost anyway,
this is what whispered to my great grandfather
when he dropped down out of the
Northeast. Who left when he heard his
unfolding the arms of trees with axes and bucksaws
west, rubbing the fine dust from his eyes.
But came back when he saw that
like Ohio, that too
was lost. He came back I suppose because he
nowhere else to go. Or maybe he just liked the name
Ohio. And why not.
Whisper it now, whisper
Ohio, Ohio, Ohio, and amid the miles of
under the culverts dumping waste, around the smokestacks
the river, a breeze picks up
sending a ripple, like a litany
family of tree.