The lavender plant that was dying
now overwhelms the fire escape.
What does the outdoors give
that isn't found inside—
we have yet to designate in Latin,
to isolate like a vitamin
from the delicatessen of air,
or something less dense
than a noun's rounded mass,
the names for water, wind, sun.
I escaped to the backyard
from the arguments of the house,
slept each night with the shake
and trot of the dogs' shambling patrol,
learned not to be afraid
the way trees
unload into darkness
the invisible part of themselves.
Pomona Valley Review (#2, 2003)