Science tells us that the fallen tree
makes a sound.
It doesn’t matter if we’re there.
The branches’ sudden arcuate course
through whistled air,
the sharp crack of limb against limb,
the sickly pop of rotted roots
and then the final sodden thud
trunk on duff-strewn ground
all loose air pressure wave upon
whether any reaches a human ear
doesn’t enter into it.
The birds will hear,
and the mice.
The worms and the earless snakes
will hear the impact whole-bodied.
And anyway, were a human there
he might not notice.
Beauty quietly goes about its business
though our backs are turned,
waves at sea swell sublime
with no ship within a hundred miles
brilliant, complicated crystals
grow a mile beneath our feet.
It comforts me, our
irrelevance to beauty.
The stars will still wheel overhead
the sunrise clouds as vermilion,
rivers still in lazy swoops across the flats,
a tease of verdin yellow
against the creosote
flash floods carve deep hieroglyphs
into the living rock.