Home > Poetry > Bonsai I
Bern Mulvey
Published: Fri Jul 1 2005
Art: Paul TheriaultEver New (detail), 2022, acrylic and found paper on scavenged wood
Bonsai I

In the deadwood style, extensive areas of the plant’s trunk and branches are artificially weathered to look like bleached driftwood.
_       _ —Susan Lang, Bonsai

Each part in its fitting unlocks. Roots trained
over black rock, trunk fold a sharp C
sand-coarsed and skinless, extending boughs
teased parallel to the earth. Form wind-bowed
yet there, at the slender tips, a green
reaching, above into the late rain
an offering of leaves, bouquet, psalm
of praise; the storm, the gathering I am.

Bern Mulvey is the author, most recently, of the poetry collection Deep Snow Country (Oberlin College Press, 2014), winner of the FIELD Poetry Prize. He has published poems, articles, and essays in English and Japanese, including recent work in The Missouri Review, Ninth Letter, AGNI, Poetry, FIELD, Beloit Poetry Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Poetry East. His first book, The Fat Sheep Everyone Wants (2008), won the 2007 Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize. He also has published two chapbooks: The Window Tribe (White Eagle Coffee Store Press, 2005) and Character Readings (Copperdome/Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2012). He lives in Iwate, Japan. (updated 10/2017)

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