Bow before the mountain ash

Olli Heikkonen


Bow before the mountain ash. Under it, face up,
your brother lies. In earth’s bosom
bones blacken, herbs sprout between vertebrae.
Bow before the mountain ash, its skinlike bark,
the necklace hung on a forked branch. Bow
to the treetop’s flame.
The roots pierce your brother’s chest.
The roots pierce your brother’s forehead.
The mountain ash is full of voices,
when spring comes, they burst out as leaves.