Three Poems 
C.J. Sage

Crooked Tree, Everyone

Larger and larger still,
taking on the wind,
each is hunches up against a series

of arrests. Upright roughly,
Pockets full of logs.

Thrown on a fire,
they spatter the calm with ash,
rushing everyone with black

scribbles from the guts
of cracked walnuts.
The crooked tree and the everyone

are mirror images; they shake
together and something reaches
for a chainsaw.

The cord slaps a fence.
The clock is always counting.
Tidy calculations case the place,

trim and drape the hedges.
The mulch sweeps over
the fallen hornets’ nests.



I bang on a door and it yields
aluminum flashing. Seeing no payoff
nor seam, I wield a steel-toed shoe.

The door becomes a shield.
Is there a rubbertree plant nearby?
I am covered in mud over digging,

and soggy-heeled.
I have kneeled in the local landfills,
made many meals of them;

I thus have sealed some very rotten deals.
Curse it all, I mutter. Count me out.
I’ve reeled like this. Subtraction

and retraction. I’ll steal
from rummage sales and dried up taps,
I’ll wheel away their crap.

I’m on my back and peeling
off the bitch-slaps. Consider me a stray
fielding all in you that’s kind—

and then, the great reveal :: bottom’s up! ::
an over-suckled belly,
an old, tin shack akeel.


Landscapes with Salmon and Small Countries

Sans a pusher of connection,
maybe I wouldn’t get so ‘this.’
Salmon policy: exile

by return-negotiation.
I am talking (talk is cheap)
land and they, crazy

tenancy under the to be
of where each one was born.
Crash course: Take the main

and fall headfirst and fast;
take the strongest impulse
and wonder long and upright.

Handsome little heads fret
on hardiness and grand design
while nits pick out the operative

theory. Rhetorical query:
where do mules go
when their saddlebags are empty?

I took the beachhouse route
and am convicted
of sitting on my couch.

The helicopter of abandon
shows its slick belly—
structure of far off, high riser,

seam splitting or otherwise—
a terribly comic novella
headed toward the Swedes.

I had made a quick deposit
to the safe of baits & switches.
Instinct said No other bank but.

Take the red banana tree—
a tropic is anywhere
one thrives.