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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 20 page 11

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Aspen Topiary

by Timothy Gordon


All summer and fall I’d been watching one frail, spiny quiver-leaf aspen
Just beyond Faith’s spread, West Mesa tree meadow, cuddled among
Default mode desert shrub cacti and creosote, alpha male bur oak,
Blue spruce, Douglas fir, all ripped-and-buff like some macho silicone sister,
Waiting for it to assume its fullness with rockstar abandon and clout, glammed-up,
Say, in spiffy looking-cool shades, Warby Parker Lovetts, cooler than cool,
Burnt-rust and ripe tangerine habanero, lovingly benign under rigorous,
Chronic summer sun, searing sirocco breeze, twiggy all year long until one
Perfect November day when even Taos Mountain wildflowers groomed themselves
Fresh, became themselves Color, first sunglow and straw, maize, mustard,
Amber-ale, ash-blonde, saffron, bronze, Colorado red, each sol y sombre branch
And vein, every leaf and stem, varnished flawless Old Gold — when just as soon it
Cracked, vanished back to its spineless self, as frost-front, quick white winter-wind
Catarrh, trembly over all in double-four time, swooshed over the forest, swooshed
Over and offed color, as airbrushed leafy whisperers splintered, unhinged themselves
Clean to earth, jawboning lame, halt, and blind scraps of cottonwood, juniper,
Piñon pine, desert willow, requisite ironwood stalwarts, now a semblance of self,
Tinctured pale yellow, beige-to-buff, gunmetal ghost-grey, bereft of sight, scent,
Sheared and weathered sound.