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The Graduate English Journal of Hunter College

Schiele's Trees
By Michael Tyrell

The desert of the one country that will soon be another,
            and the seven (women, men) entering a third
(no, fourth) day on foot, and nightfall, and hatching
            (no, don’t say it) things that can’t cross

traintracks. What country are they in when they fold in
            half upon the trains (is this their pose) and in one
country that will soon be another, these mechanisms
            I call mine, two eyes, are boring into a landscape

of trees (the body leaves the soul I am told) and the trees
            look to be human, their shapes are lying. In
Egon Schiele’s painting, which is the body, which the landscape?
            These hands (who said they were mine) could no more raise

the sleepers from the tracks than this country become another.
            Schiele looked at himself, tore out the human, cleaved
it into branches. The soul begins by finding the pieces, assembling
            them into trees that look over traintracks, desert trees.

I can’t find the human in them (would I want to), nor
            can they return what I see. Entering dayfall and nightfall
on foot, how they must feel, of course they know trains
            don’t run at night in Mexico. Once, to prove a point,

I lay down on tracks (this was my friends’ pose) as
            the minutes of nightfall hurried to make me part
of their landscape, they were painting me iron-color, almost asleep
            and the train would paint me too. The body leaves

the soul I am told. They are finding sleep, the seven
            lying down, nothing can’t be retracted or revised,
they are in one piece and in the morning I will find them here,
            Schiele in his grave, the train out of one country

hurrying into another.

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