For Joe Chelius
When empty lots were turned to groves
Of evergreens, the sap-smeared men
In army jackets, boots, and gloves
Would hunch at barrel fires again.
All night, by strung-up bulbs, they’d sell
The pines dragged home beneath the El.
That muddied, needle-fragrant ground
Still gleams, has frozen thirty years
Lodged in between. Those men are bound
To landscapes petrified and clear,
Entwining trees of this December
And every Christmas I remember.
David Livewell grew up in Philadelphia and won the 2012 T.S. Eliot Award for Poetry for Shackamaxon (Truman State University Press). He is now at work on a second collection.