The Palms by Matt Costello
there is a view. it is paid for. it is passe. it is just there.
it is nice to have. it is not going anywhere. it is behind the curtains.
A man pulls the curtain back
and his startled black eyes turn white–
sunlight enervated behind clouds.
It is almost unbearable to him.
But the palms reach right up:
pliant heads of large animals
looming over the house, the blinding view.
The man drops the curtains and vanishes.
The curtains, which were thick, dark,
heavy-hanging cloaks, transform
into white, translucent flaps of cotton.
They lift and fall in the breeze.
Then the walls of the house are gone,
and the roof, windows, and curtains.
the view was from the second story. it was a vantage point.
it was from up in the air. it was no accident it resulted in consequences.
Needles cover the ground under junipers
dropping bluish-gray cones that roll
or stick in the muddy soil.
Cats stretch in thick ice plant leaves,
clouds peel themselves into streaks
blown to the eastern horizon.
Squirrels stop scampering to eat,
their eyes constantly shifting focus
as black crows circle palms overhead,
clutch brown, hardened fronds,
pick their way through to damp nests.
The crow is born in a dark, hidden place
that emerges in the luster of its wings.
the house is not even a memory. it is not taken over.
it is replaced. it is simply gone. it is grown over by what was here before.
No particle of the house remains.
This is trees living. This is trees dying,
their resilience moldering into the ground.
This is nature growing over everything
even after it stops doing it with leaves.
This is not a suggestion of absence,
because even absence is about the self.
This is what it means to take yourself out.
This is what it means to take ourselves out.
This is not about anything.
It is cricketsong in the hours after light.
It is crows cursing all the other birds.
It is the smell of rain before it arrives.
It is wet, shaky palms flashing in wind.