Night Shift

by Martin Arnold

November, Greensboro, third shift sleet
Laminates each branch of the peach trees
With an organic, transparent
Skin, limbs

So productive this spring, so
Slender and plentiful they broke
And broke

With fruit. Nature never tires

Of trying to impress us
Even if it pulls the same predictable rabbits
Out of its hat

Of loose change. These trees against
The x-ray of
The night are slow
Blood explosions inside

Hardening glass arteries,
Lungs inhaling
An oxygen of sleet

That rings like a river
Of steel wheels shimmying

Under the weight
Of the sun
Rolling in. Soon,

The trees will crack
Their knuckles as localized showers
Under each

Arboreal cloud; steam
Will rise from the invisible

Fires smoldering inside
Each factory of leaves;

But for now
You celebrate winter’s

And this is the end

Of your shift,
Though the sun
Will clock in like a good-


Your job is done, you can
Kick off your boots and