Portrait Of A Small Bird On A Tree Of Twelve Metres

by Karen McCarthy Woolf

after Giuseppe Penone


Inside where it is dark, where branches
criss cross – a tree stripped

and whittled, where the wood is denser
and leaves flicker like bonfires

lit at the end of summer, here
in the heart of the wood you are the light

not the shadow, an unsolved equation
in a dog-eared exercise book.



Cross the red line and
the room changes size, dimension

– the ceiling reaches for a lightning spear,
wreaks havoc on a rectangle

of artificial daybreak while a rusted girder
snaps at a toddler on the bus –

everything I want is up there, just
out of reach, in the white emulsion.