Jim Daniels & Charlee Brodsky



The experts on the removal
of metal trees

are also the experts on the installation
of metal trees.

There, we say, watching the cement dry.
That's going to stay forever.

A broken chunk laughs
at that, or barks at that

having lost its attachment
to dreams. The feather

laughs at that, or sighs, having lost
its dream of flight—dropped,

dismissed, exiled to earth.
The leaves laugh at that,

having done their jobs
having lost their bright dying

having idly scratched concrete
having curled into bitterness.

Perhaps the leaves do not laugh
at all, having lost the ability

or desire to whisper. Perhaps
they mumble nonsense

in mockery of forever. And the sticks
imagine they are snakes, and the pebbles

imagine they are seeds. The experts
have carried away the metal tree.

Somewhere they have laid it flat.
They bent down as close

as they could get, scraping their knuckles                    
then they began to cut. They left the eye

to rust into surprise at the betrayal
of the blue, blue sky.






The photographs in "Trace" were made in a large abandoned industrial site that sits next to railroad tracks in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Every photograph contains a shard of something left by someone.