Anne Marie Champagne

Lantern Tree

!100! !50! for Deva

Strange, I don’t remember
what you looked like before
this dry husk,
shucked and soiled,
all seed to the wind,
dropped and burned at the root.

Precious things
(the hallowed silence
you bear) dangle, tireless,
from starched stems
fired in half-light darkness
to a fine golden ash.

With each sun’s brief rising
(there is just enough)
to continue dreaming, to kiss
the diaphanous moon-skinned sky,
feel the earth split—break our fall.

It’s a miracle.
How in this cold black rain
you combust—
a thousand lanterns gleaming,
staring down the shadows
let loose in the fractured night.

Anne Marie Champagne is a writer, educator, and artist living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She is the managing editor of the American Journal of Cultural Sociology and a doctoral candidate in sociology at Yale University. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The Southern Review.