Water's Leaves & Other Poems by Geoffrey Nutter

The following is a poem from Water's Leaves & Other Poems by Geoffrey Nutter, to be published this month by Verse Press.


That What Happen

The President said, "A tree grows here so strong
and so on top of me. It is dreamed by a man.
It is called a fish."
A girl with tangled hair came running
and poured magic ink on his pants.
He slept, and while she poured ink in his hair
he kept sleeping. Sleeping with blue ink
and small twigs in his hair
he kept dreaming. He dreamed he was a tree
and when he woke up he hypnotized the girl.
The girl became what he told her. The grass grew
and was the President.

When the man came back he said bye to the girl
and she slipped into the brook and was a fish.
"It's a dream," said the President.
He sat in the wind where the fish could see him.
The wind touched his back and rippled through him.
Where wind and rain worked so did the President.
He enacted his works.

He meant to make it seem small by calling it dream.
But the people worshipped the fish.
The fish levitated in the sea like glass.
The fish stopped dreaming they were the President
and hypnotized the people. All along the grassy beach
the people looked into the glass.
They couldn't reach the fish. The couldn't see the fish.
The fish levitated above them.

So there was a time of plenty.
A magic book was read to them aloud.
The president grew wild. In places it grew
tall enough for trees to hide in.
A girl ran through it.
She played on the green President.
She pursued her shadow through the President
until her shadow rose like wild hair.
She ran through its labyrinth of hedges
and couldn't reach the end of him.

In November, red leaves
adorned the President and covered him
all over: mulch, trimmings, leaves
rotting into the damp President.
The President soaked with rain.
In the morning, a shining, dew-soaked President,
lapels fastooned with dandelions.

This is the most human-like
of the fish that levitate above them.
His eyes are blue and piercing.
If indeed we remove her from where she plays by the sea
she will perhaps become a brook, which will run beside him.
With his green tuxedo and wonderful hair
he will grow beside the brook.

—"That What Happen" from Water's Leaves & Other Poems by Geoffrey Nutter. Copyright (c) 2005 by Geoffrey Nutter. Used by permission of Verse Press.