To Climb Green Trees

The sidewalk is sterilized white.
I could eat off its sunlight.
People creep along it like spiders

who could shrink in the heat, leave
this world without their dark webs
I watch this from a window

in an air-conditioned room, a screen
in front of me telling me who is dead,
from bombs, from guns, knives, stars.

I don’t want this knowledge.
Instead, I wish to climb green trees,
where every leaf knows what to do,

bud further upward, branches’
octopus arms reaching for the sun,
catching what it can in its growth.


Donald Illich has published poetry in journals such as The Iowa Review, Fourteen Hills, and Cold Mountain Review. He won Honorable Mention in the Washington Prize book contest. He recently published a book, Chance Bodies (The Word Works, 2018).