The Poplar by Julia Knobloch

Outside our bedroom window
a poplar bows and greets us
morning and night.
In German, poplar is female,
and we talk about the tree
as our friend, our dear poplar.
Every year your father threatens
to cut her down because she’s grown
so tall and slender, a danger
to the roof if there’s a storm.
But she’s our friend, we say,
and friends with the ivy that grows
on the brown-gray façade of the building
next to ours, friends with the many birds
that scurry through its dark-green leaves.
In the summer, the air that comes into
our bedroom through the open window
is cool and smells of limestone and grass,
of coals and firewood in the winter,
although who still heats with wood and coal?
An unsolved mystery of our city.
We rest our heads against checkered pillows
and look out the window, listen to the sweet
susurrus of our friend, the poplar, watch her
tender movements, delicate gestures.
I love you, you say.
I know, I answer. I love you, too.

Julia Knobloch is a journalist and translator turned project manager and emerging poet. She recently won the 2017 Poem of the Year prize from Brooklyn Poets. Her writing can be found in Green Mountains Review, Yes, Poetry, in between hangovers, poetic diversity, and with Brooklyn Poets.


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