Holding Pattern

by Elsa Johnson

Last night’s late season storm     pummeled     the Norway spruce     

as if wind’s huge fist                                    held him by the scruff                

and wrung   and wracked him                 All his long lovely limbs     

flailed      at the blows              In quiet times    each black branch 

descends through curves      or lifts              Each dark descending

bough           or branchlet                  scrolls     calligraphy     upon

the sky                                       One day  soon                 or distant      

wind will break him         —        but today?           He is the master      

of the comma                  the pause                      the pendant swish

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