Walk through the forests of glazed towers—

behold, no acreage below, only light-belted

buildings, the high rise of suited workers.


Mountains tremble in their reflection,

clouds shiver across board rooms—

how elegant the race toward dystopia.


Figs, almonds and willows

grow on rooftops. Bee and bee-eater

nest in parapets.


Truly the poor were driven out

with the deer mice. Splinters of the past

rot under us and overhead,


only a blue limit. Shrill, the harbor’s whistle,

clang-clang of silver.


Spotted cats, mink, fat-tailed fox ran

before trappers. Before sawmills, before miners,

carboniferous mosses slept in hillsides.


Before explorers. Before settlers or sightseers.


Who remembers native earth raising

red cedars? They alone scraped the sky. 


Beverly Burch’s work has appeared in New England Review, Willow Springs, Salamander, Tinderbox, Mudlark, DMQ and Poetry Northwest. Her first poetry collection, Sweet to Burn, won the Gival Poetry Prize and a Lambda Literary Award. Her second collection, How A Mirage Works, was a finalist for the Audre Lorde Award. She is a psychotherapist in Berkeley.