Two by
Tom Crawford

Ginko Tree

The knee-high juvenile smile
in the slender trunk of the little ginkgo tree planted
between the curb and the sidewalk
won't tell you anything
about what happened here
in Kwangju at this intersection a year ago
when our bus smashed into the blue pickup.
It raised up on its right side
the little truck did
almost turning over
then settled back down
in an animal gentleness
in a shower of tempered glass
driverless, the door flung open
going now in a whole new direction
coasting, as it were, toward the little ginkgo tree
rolling ever so slowly
dragging its chrome trim along the street
while one of its silver hubcaps rolled
in the opposite direction,
toward us, pointing an accusing finger, I thought.
But if one discounts the dead driver
lying next to the curb
then the little truck, its black tires
carrying it away down the block
took on a certain charm,
the blue door waving back as it rolled
ever so slowly toward the curb
where it bounced softly like a beach ball
then struck the young tree, not such a hard blow,
but enough to ring all of its bell-shaped, green leaves
causing two or three to fall
one landing on the hood
the other two on the blue cab.

My American pants are hanging over the chair
in the corner with your Korean dress.
Over there they can decide foreign policy.
But here we are like two spoons
you and I
in the same warm bowl,
Buddhas bowl, where we, too
can barely open our eyes
having discovered the sweetness of one tongue,
the curves and folds of the inner walls
we breathe hardly at all.
We're held there in a stillness
like porcelain.
We gaze out the window
and then smile in the dark
at discovering a pair of my shorts
hanging on the line
stirred now and then by a little breeze.
--- From The Temple on Monday
Tom Crawford
©2001 Eastern Washington
University Press
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