During the Countdown

Tom Paulin

On the second day of the second month
2003
we were walking through Beeston
– it looked that Sunday
more like a wet Northern
than a wet Midland town
with big strange pollarded trees
on both sides of its not wide not grand
Imperial Road
– every single limbless hacked cutback trunk
was taller than the Victorian houses
and each a kind of écorché
displaced almost tarry with a blind scorched
halfconscious look
– these overgrown but somehow ambushed trees
they’d got too grand for a mere road
– maybe when their trunks were just saplings
it looked like an avenue in the making?
now these rooted
not quite cadavers were nearly speaking back
like a tamarack a hackmatack
– that is the American the charred larch